Oxnard City Council

Copyright © Re-Elect MacDonald for Oxnard Council - 2016  FPPC ID # 1385268

Public Safety

My platform is simple and straight forward.  I have three areas of focus.  First, Public Safety; Second, Creating Jobs through Economic Gardening; and Third, Re-establishing Trust in City Hall

City               Population - 2013   Police Budget - 2013     Per capita cost    Fire Budget 2013   Per Capita Cost    Total Per Capita Spending

Ventura                108,817                  $30,636,460                    $281                  $17,337,102                $159                        $440       (2)
Oxnard                 203,007                 $60,855,231                    $299                  $20,049,057                $99                         $398      (6)   Simi Valley           126,181                   $27,979,500                    $222                  $23,153,559               $183                         $405      (4)
Thousand Oaks     166,506                  $27,229,195                    $163                   $39,119,755               $235                         $398      (7)
Port Hueneme        22,138                     $6,734,318                    $304                   $2,235,330               $101                         $405      (5)
Moorpark               35,149                    $6,536,865                    $185                    $8,397,742               $239                        $424      (3)
Santa Paula            30,091                    $4,973,618                    $164                    $2,695,282                 $90                       $254       (8)
Camarillo                66,086                  $15,627,519                    $236                  $16,298,004               $247                       $483       (1)
Fillmore                  15,255                    $2,914,749                    $191                        $766,148                 $50                       $241       (9)

Ojai                          7,581                    $2,929,885                    $386                   Not available            Not available          Not available

This chart is based upon information gleaned off of internet searches of public information posted by governmental entities.  Column 4 is the per capita expenditure for police services; Column 6 is the per capita expenditure for fire services; and Column 7 is the total per capita expenditure based upon the addition of Coumn 4 and Column 6.  The number in () reflect the rank order of local cities in public safety spending with 1 being the most per capita and 9 being the least per capita in terms of expenditure.

As a Council we were recently asked to consider utility rate increases for Water, Sewer and Solid Waste (Trash Collection).  I will be the first one to say that our systems infrastructures need to be maintained, fixed and updated.  But when I used the calculations presented by City staff on my utility bill, over a five year span, the resulting increase was staggering.  My mother-in-law lives in this community and lives on Social Security.  She has not seen an increase in her benefit for three years.  She has a finite amount of money upon which she lives month to month.  This steep an increase would have caused her to take money out of some other use such as groceries.  I started asking staff "What, exactly, are we going to use this money for?" and I was not able to get a clear picture.  One comment I heard was "We may not need the full amount that we are asking for and the rate increase might be lower."  I trust staff but had the uneasy feeling of funding an increase that some might see as a "Blank Check" and the unfortunate perception is that if you give government a blank check they will spend it.  Because of these concerns I could not support the proposed rate increase.  

We have been asking staff to consider concessions in wages, hours and working conditions during recent discussions.  Yet, we have spent over $10 million in contracts to various consultants to help the City to operate and move forward.  I believe in "local control" and think it is time to reestablish our local workforce and stop the reliance upon consultants.  They have been helpful and pointed us in the right direction but it is now time to bring those skillsets back in house and start being self sufficient.

Re-establishing Public Trust in City Hall

It can be very difficult to do business in California. In my experience, it makes more sense for us to help grow existing businesses then to attempt to recruit from outside our area.   The concept of Economic Gardening was created in the State of Colorado and has a very simple premise.  Instead of trying to entice new businesses to your locality you instead seek out those businesses that are here and have able to prosper as a successful business.  Once those businesses have been identified you work with them, nurture them and help them to grow and become more prosperous.  As this occurs it causes other entities that interact with the business to likewise grow and mature, thus creating a stronger business environment and stimulating more local growth.  This in turn creates more local jobs and with more local jobs one can expect more disposable income to be available to the local community.  As the local disposable income rises it stimulates local sales of cars, homes, groceries and other products that help strengthen the local economy.  Much the way you would tend to your local garden to stimulate growth of the crops to have more yield.

Here's an example:  TreeTop  had a local production facility here in Oxnard and had lost their lease.  Instead of ceasing production they contacted the City of Oxnard and we worked with them to find a new location that allowed for new construction (creating new local construction jobs) and ultimately allowed TreeTop to increase their capacity.  By keeping them here and allowing them to grow we increased local jobs creating greater demand for their suppliers.  That greater demand allows their suppliers to be more successful and also allows them opportunities to grow.  

To read more about Economic Gardening check out this link:  http://www.ycda.com/enterprise-corner/a-new-tool-to-grow-your-business-economi

Here is another example of this concept.  Since coming on line The Collections has continued to thrive and provide needed income to the sales tax base.  We must continue to support this effort and help them to improve so that our community can improve.  As part of the Riverpark Master Plan the developers of The Collections brought forward a plan for a hotel development as part of the original master plan.  Council initially did not approve that proposal.  I worked with the developer to help formulate an approach that would make their proposal acceptable and allow it to move forward.  It was returned to Council and approved unanimously.  By allowing this project to move forward we will see an increase in Property Tax as theparcel, which now sits vacant will be improved and have an increased valuation.  The building of two quality hotels will draw more people to the area.  This means an increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and more visitors staying within walking distance of The Collections.  This will bring even more customers to The Collections and increase their sales tax revenues.  Click the button below to see the most recent salestax report and take note of how this revenue source has been on the upswing for some time now.  This creates more revenue for the City of Oxnard.  This is "Economic Gardening" at its best! 

Economic Gardening

I come from a Public Safety background.  I believe in having a strong and robust public safety framework in our community.  A lot of public safety is dealing with the day to day events that occur in our community.  But there is more to public safety than that.  We have to be prepared to be self sufficient in the event of an unanticipated event.  If you listen to the experts we are anticipated to experience a sizable earthquake event.  Some say sooner than later.  It is not really a matter of "if" but rather "when" this event will occur.  We cannot depend upon mutual assistance from surrounding communities since they will likely be tending to their own needs.  WE NEED TO BE SELF-SUFFICIENT!  I don't believe we are there.  I did not support the current budget (FY 2015/16) because of the negative impact that it had on Police and Fire services.  The police department initially lost 9 sworn positions (Police Officers) and 5.5 non-sworn positions.  Since the adoption of that budget there have been additional adjustments that have resulted in the loss of additional positions and the moving of over $750,000 from the police budget to other uses.  The Fire Department has not been able to fully staff fire stations and/or equipment throughout this community.  As an example, the City of Ventura, which is half the population of Oxnard, has six fully staffed fire stations.  Oxnard has eight fire stations, two of which have had equipment "browned out" which equals a reduction in staffing and service levels.

Re-Elect Bryan MacDonald