Democracy can be messy. Some good ideas can turn out to be very bad when you look at the consequences. That seems to be the case with four measures that qualified for Oxnard's November ballot.
Measure F – Expedited Processing of Certain City-Issued Development Permits
We've all heard horror stories about how long it can take to get a permit for a new warehouse or office building. But that's not always the case. The city of Oxnard has been studying the flow of permit issuances and has worked out some of the kinks that slowed the process. Measure F would allow self-certification of projects that meet specific requirements and if those project applications are filed by certified professionals. No city has ever done this to the scope called for in Measure F. Phoenix, Arizona may be the closest, but its scope covers about 50% of what is proposed in Oxnard. Audits of the Phoenix self-certified projects show 39% failed to comply with current building standards and codes. Would you want to go to work in a building constructed under those circumstances? In addition, the city's Insurance Service Organization rating would likely go down, which means residents and business owners would see higher rates. Not a good idea.
Measure L – Expansion of Duties of Elected City Treasurer
This measure would expand the duties of the city's elected Treasurer to include the job of Finance Director, who manages accounting functions, budget management, and purchasing. The requirements to be elected as the city Treasurer are: registered to vote in Oxnard, 18 years old, US citizen, not currently in a state or federal prison or on parole for a felony, and not currently found mentally incompetent. There are no requirements for education or training in the field of finance, investments, or banking. Not a good idea.
Measure M – New Requirements Regarding the Way in Which City Council Meetings, Council Committee and Other City Legislative Bodies are Run
Measure M would require all meetings of legislative bodies to commence no earlier than 5:00 pm on weekdays and 9:00 am on weekends. Remember those council meetings that used to go until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning? With Measure M, we would be headed back to those late, unproductive meetings. The measure also requires that all staff presentations be videotaped and posted on the city's website at the time the meeting agenda is posted. There is a sizeable cost involved with this requirement, along with increased staff time. Measure M also requires all meetings of legislative bodies be governed by Robert's Rules of Order, not commonly employed by local government. Not a good idea.
Measure N – Early Termination of Measure O Sales Tax
Measure O was a twenty-year general-purpose half-cent sales tax passed by the voters of Oxnard in 2008. Measure N would tie the condition of Oxnard's streets to a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) in order to continue the Measure O tax collection. It appears to be mathematically impossible for the city to attain the PCI results Measure N calls for. There simply is not enough money in the city's coffers. In addition, the voters approved the general-purpose sales tax. Measure N would change that to a specific-purpose tax, which could be challenged in court if it is not adopted by two-thirds of Oxnard voters. Not a good idea.
The Oxnard Chamber urges all voters to educate themselves on the intended or unintended consequences of all ballot measures.