2022 Ballot Measures

Vote YES on Measure C -- the Oxnard Term Limits Act

Official Ballot Argument Supporting Measure C


Politicians are like diapers: they should be changed often! And for the same reason!

Strong Term Limits serve an important purpose because elected officials inevitably become self-serving, entrenched, career politicians. Proving the point, Oxnard City Council UNDERMINED this very initiative – ILLEGALLY keeping it off the November 3, 2020 ballot – basically thumbing its nose at over 12,000 residents who signed petitions to place strict term limits on the ballot!

Instead, Oxnard City Council placed on the March 3, 2020 ballot its own measure that purportedly limits mayors and councilmembers to three consecutive terms – but inserted a LOOPHOLE allowing officeholders to evade those limits by swapping seats!

The California Second District Court of Appeal recognized the council’s treachery and ORDERED Oxnard City Council to place Measure C – the citizen-sponsored initiative – on the November 8, 2022 ballot. The Court wrote: “[The] city council enacted an ordinance that served to deny voters their rights … depriving the voters of the opportunity to decide the issue of term limits.”

 - Measure C closes the loophole by subjecting mayors and councilmembers to a COMBINED two-term limit – up to eight years – allowing for experienced leadership while offering more residents the opportunity to hold public office and bring fresh ideas to Oxnard City Hall.

 - Measure C isn’t a lifetime ban. It allows officeholders to serve additional terms, but only after a two-year break.

Because Oxnard now elects councilmembers by district, you can only vote for mayor and just one of six councilmembers. You’re not allowed to vote on the other five – but they still make decisions that impact you – making term limits even more important.

The United States Constitution limits Presidents to two terms. Likewise, the California Constitution limits Governors and other statewide officeholders to two four-year terms. Eight consecutive years is more than enough for any elected official to get the job done.

Vote Yes on Measure C.

Aaron Starr
President, Moving Oxnard Forward

Tai Hartley
Chair, Inter-Neighborhood Council Organization (INCO)

Douglas Partello
Founder, Oxnard Grassroots Volunteers 

Lance Ralston
Oxnard Pastor, Calvary Chapel 

Larry Guevara
Oxnard Resident, Former Police Officer

Official Ballot Rebuttal to Argument Opposing Measure C

Curious … on January 21, 2020, Oxnard City Council voted to ADOPT Measure C’s strict term limits. Now, it’s signing arguments OPPOSING them.

That January 21, 2020, council vote kept Measure C’s strict term limits off the ballot. But councilmembers still needed your vote at the March 3, 2020, election to approve Measure B … language the Oxnard City Council slyly orchestrated – with LONGER LIMITS and a LOOPHOLE! – so voters would unknowingly override the council’s earlier “adoption” of strict term limits.

Oxnard City Council’s maneuvers were a self-serving ploy to “adopt” – and then swiftly replace! – strict term limits … an elaborate plot the California Second District Court of Appeal said served to “deny voters their rights” to decide this issue.

Other Measure B elements were also insincere offerings to coax voter approval. For example, Measure B established that “No elected City official … may receive any gift from any person or entity that contracts … with the City.”

Yet, four councilmembers in recent filings reported RECEIVING GIFTS from entities with whom Oxnard contracts.

Elected officials often become drunk with power and feel entitled. They act to serve themselves, not represent you – writing laws restricting YOU, while they violate those laws.

Gerrymandering, official titles, name recognition and plurality voting give incumbents unfair advantages. Incumbents often win re-election with less than a majority because the majority of votes are divided among several challengers.

Those advantages are powerful. In fact, last time an Oxnard incumbent lost was 2010, following a scandal involving public officials accused of – wait for it! – ILLEGALLY receiving GIFTS!

Tell councilmembers they’re not royalty. Enact strong term limits.

Vote Yes on Measure C.

Aaron Starr
President, Moving Oxnard Forward

Tai Hartley
Chair, Inter-Neighborhood Council Organization (INCO)

Douglas Partello
Founder, Oxnard Grassroots Volunteers 

Lance Ralston
Oxnard Pastor, Calvary Chapel 

Larry Guevara
Oxnard Resident, Former Police Officer


Background Timeline - How Did We Get Here?

Date Event
April 18, 2019 City Hall first learned we were proposing a term limits ballot measure (now called Measure C) when we filed a copy with the Oxnard City Clerk. This filing is required before we can collect signatures to qualify it for the ballot.
April-October, 2019 We spent months collecting the signatures to qualify Measure C for the November 2020 ballot. Meanwhile, City Hall was scheming for how they could undermine our term limits.  They knew the deadline for us to submit our signatures was at the end of October.
October 15, 2019 The City Council voted to place their LOOSER-WITH-A-LOOPHOLE term limits (Measure B) onto the March 2020 ballot, which was a very odd thing for them to do if they thought ours would be on the November 2020 ballot -- if voters later adopted ours, it would override theirs. That was a hint that it was a naughty scheme to keep ours off the ballot.
October 28, 2019 We submitted more than 12,000 signatures on our petition for Measure C.
January 13, 2020 The County Registrar of Voters certified to the city that Measure C had enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.
January 21, 2020 The City Council was legally obligated to order Measure C onto the ballot for a public vote, but instead they illegally "adopted" our measure. The council had taxpayer-funded polling that suggested that the voters in March 2020 would likely adopt the council's LOOSER-WITH-A-LOOPHOLE term limits the council wrote for themselves, so the plan was for the voters to unknowingly override our stricter term limits which the council had "adopted." This vote by the Oxnard City Council kept Measure C off the November 2020 ballot, so voters never had an informed choice as to whether they preferred the council's LOOSER-WITH-A-LOOPHOLE term limits or the STRICTER-NO-LOOPHOLE term limits of Measure C.
March 3, 2020 Election day. Most voters did not know of the game the council played to keep Measure C off the ballot. The city's ballot materials for their measure lied to the voters by telling them it would "implement" term limits, though in reality its adoption would loosen them. The city's measure was adopted.
June 9, 2020 We filed a lawsuit to reverse the city's illegal handling of our measure, seeking a court order for Measure C to be placed on the ballot.
January 18, 2022 After a court battle, the Court of Appeal published its final ruling that because the council acted to keep Measure C off the November 2020 ballot, their action had, "served to deny voters their rights guaranteed by the Election Code," and it was "depriving the voters of the opportunity to decide the issue of term limits." The court ordered the Oxnard City Council to place Measure C on the November 2022 ballot, which is why you finally have the opportunity to choose between the existing three-term limits with a loophole versus Measure C's two-term limits without the loophole.


Measure C Frequently Asked Questions

1) How did the City Council undermine the people's right to vote on strict term limits?

In 1973, Oxnard voters adopted a ballot measure to set the mayor's term at two years. California state law requires that if the voters previously established a policy with a public vote, any amendment to that prior decision can only be made by the voters. The city council cannot later change it by themselves. One of the changes written into Measure C was to change the mayor's term to four years, and this detail required that Measure C be put onto a ballot for you to vote on.

The Oxnard City Council refused to place Measure C on the November 2020 ballot. They instead acted to keep it off the ballot so that their ballot measure in March 2020 -- with LOOSER term limits they wrote for themselves -- would be the only question on term limits that voters would see.

If Measure C had been on the November 2020 ballot, voters would have had the opportunity to make an informed decision to whether they prefer to have the existing term limits (three terms with an evasion loophole, from the council's March 2020 Measure B), or Measure C with its two-term limit and no evasion loophole.

The council member who made the motion to keep Measure C off the ballot even said she was doing so to "avoid an election." The Oxnard City Council deprived you of having that choice two years ago. They tried to decide for you by illegally amending something the voters had previously enacted. Thankfully the Court of Appeal has restored your right to decide between these options for yourself.


2) Why does Measure C say it is changing the mayor's term length from two to four years? Didn't the voters already make that change when they enacted the council's proposed looser-with-a-loophole term limits in March 2020?

When we wrote Measure C in early 2019, the length of the mayor's term was still two years. It is unfortunate that the city council's gamesmanship here has made the situation confusing for the voters. It takes months for the residents to collect enough signatures to put a measure on the ballot, but the council can put a measure on the ballot very quickly with just a single vote (they do NOT have to collect signatures). That timing advantage allowed the council's measure to come before voters first, even though it was a REACTION to the measure we started many months before. That is the cause of the confusion.

Once we had the signatures already collected for Measure C, we couldn't go back and change the text of our measure to eliminate the now-duplicate language. In the meantime, the city council's alternate measure adopted by voters in March 2020 did change the length of the mayor's term to four years already. The mayor's term will remain at four years whether or not Measure C is adopted, but the only way to set the term limits to two terms beginning this November is to adopt Measure C with a YES vote.

At the Court of Appeal the City actually tried to argue that this very confusion WHICH THEY CAUSED was a reason to not allow our measure to go forward. The court rightly recognized that such a ridiculous argument would allow any city council to thwart any citizen ballot measure by simply using the council's timing advantage to get to the ballot box first with a different measure while the timing-disadvantaged residents were busy collecting thousands of signatures for their measure.


3) Where can one read the court decision directing the City Council to place Measure C on the November 2022 ballot?

Here is a link to the court decision.


4) Is there evidence that councilmembers are accepting illegal gifts from those who contract with the City of Oxnard?

The state of California requires elected officials to disclose those gifts on Form 700.

Here is a link to the gifts reported by Councilmember Gabe Teran (see p. 3).

Here is a link to the gifts reported by Councilmember Bert Perello (see p. 6).

Here is a link to the gifts reported by Councilmember Oscar Madrigal (see p. 2).

Here is a link to the gifts reported by Mayor John Zaragoza (see p. 5).

Only four of the seven councilmembers reported these gifts. Were similar gifts offered to the other three councilmembers? If so, did they decline, or just not report them?

Accepting those gifts – if disclosed – is legal in other places in California, but when the voters adopted Oxnard’s Measure B in March 2020, it specifically outlawed such gifts in ANY amount. Here is the relevant language from that ordinance:

Section 2-250. Prohibition on Acceptance of Gifts.

  1. No elected City official or member of the Planning Commission may receive any gift from any person or entity that contracts or is seeking to contract with the City, or with any person who during the prior 12 months knowingly attempted to influence an elected City official or member of the Planning Commission in any legislative or administrative action.
  2. No person may make, and no elected City official or member of the Planning Commission accept, any gift with the intent to influence an elected City official or member of the Planning Commission in the performance of any official act.
  3. No elected City official or member of the Planning Commission may accept or receive any gift from anyone other than the City for the performance of a specific service or act that the elected City official or member of the Planning Commission is expected to render in the regular course of his or her City duties, or for advice about City processes.

The City has a council-approved vendor contract with Amazon, and the city contracts annually with the Dallas Cowboys for use of city property for their training camp. To be fair, these businesses may not have known about the city's prohibition on even relatively small gifts...but the councilmembers cannot credibly claim ignorance.

The City Council unanimously voted to place Measure B on the ballot, so Councilmembers Perello and Madrigal can't pretend they didn't know about its rules.

Councilmember Teran was not on the City Council at the time of Measure B's adoption, but video from his own Facebook account shows that at the time he was aware of its gift prohibitions, and very recently he praised City Manager Alexander Nguyen for bringing Measure B and its gift prohibitions to the council to place on the ballot. He cannot credibly claim ignorance.

We have quite publicly argued that Measure B's gift limits were overly broad and restrictive. As written, it could also ensnare residents who advocate for public policies to City officials -- even at a council meeting -- by treating those residents as "lobbyists." If any such person were to later do something as trivial as buying a councilmember a cup of coffee, he or she would be party to a violation of this ordinance!

In spite of our warning to the council, the City Council went ahead with their proposal as written, so we certainly think they should be called out for violating the very rules THEY advocated as being necessary to protect public integrity.

We raise this issue in our ballot arguments (above) because one of the reasons term limits are a good idea is the tendency of public officials to think they are above the law and entitled to special treatment.


5) If accepting those gifts is illegal, why aren’t those councilmembers in legal hot water?

They should be. Conveniently, councilmembers did not include in Measure B any penalty provision for violating the gift ban. Why? Perhaps because they never intended for the gift ban to be enforced. It was simply window dressing to coax you into adopting looser term limits than those presented in Measure C.


6) Are only councilmembers qualified to run for Mayor?

You might think so, if you were to accept the council’s self-serving argument.

Measure C allows a councilmember who is not yet term limited out to run for Mayor. And if residents really want to elect a mayor with lots of experience – assuming experience is needed to occupy a largely ceremonial position! – there are a number of former councilmembers who are eligible to run because they have been out of office for more than two years.

Frankly, we think the council is way too enamored with their self-assessed worth and belief that they have skills superior to yours.


7) Where can I see the text of Measure C?

Just click here to see the full text of Measure C - Oxnard Term Limits Act.




Paid for by Starr Coalition for Moving Oxnard Forward, a committee supporting Measure C.

2130 Posada Drive, Oxnard, CA  93030   ID# 1379154


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