Official Ballot Argument Supporting Measure M
STOP HOLDING PUBLIC MEETINGS DURING THE WORKDAY!
Do you believe city council meetings ought to be held at times when the public can actually attend and participate?
Should important information be disclosed by City staff to the public BEFORE the meetings?
Should the public be given reasonable opportunities to be heard?
If yes, join more than 12,000 local residents who signed our petition to place the Oxnard Open Meetings Act on the ballot – and vote Yes on Measure M!
The Oxnard City Council sued to keep Measure M off the ballot – spending taxpayer money to take away your right to vote. The Ventura County Superior Court responded – ordering the Oxnard City Council to follow the law and place Measure M on the ballot – restoring your right to vote for this commonsense measure.
Yes on Measure M:
- Requires council (and other legislative committee) weekday meetings be held no earlier than 5:00 pm, absent extraordinary circumstances. Beginning last year, the Oxnard City Council started scheduling committee meetings throughout the workday. Consequently, members of the public rarely attend.
- Guarantees members of the public shall be given at least three minutes to address the Oxnard City Council on an agenda item. Today, the mayor can limit you to one minute, and deny you time altogether if a committee has previously heard the matter.
- Demands staff presentations be videotaped in advance so that the public (and Oxnard City Council) can view them before the meeting.
- Facilitates local residents who want to present videos or PowerPoint slides at meetings.
- Instructs that the Oxnard City Council receive professional training on how to run meetings using Robert’s Rules so that they are conducted more efficiently and effectively, and to better allow for thoughtful deliberation and meaningful public participation.
Join us in making local government more accountable and accessible to voters.
Vote YES on Measure M.
President, Moving Oxnard Forward
Chair, Inter-Neighborhood Council Organization (INCO)
Tom Rey Garcia
Downtown Oxnard Business Owner - Tomas Cafe
Former Oxnard Planning Commissioner
Jo Ann Olivares
Back in 2019, the Oxnard City Council eliminated half of its council meetings and created a committee system that meets during the workday, when few people can attend.
Under the Brown Act, members of the public get to speak on items that are on the agenda, but the Mayor can limit your time to as short as one minute. And because an item can be heard during a committee that meets during the workday, there is no legal requirement to allow you to speak on that same item when it comes before the City Council.
City staff often makes presentations in front of the City Council, but the information provided can differ from what is in the staff reports, so the public doesn't find out about this information until the meeting, which makes it nearly impossible to research in advance the facts presented and makes it difficult for members of the public (or even the City Council) to ask intelligent questions at the meeting.
Moreover, many of these staff presentations run long into the meeting, which forces members of the public to wait several hours before being able to publicly address an item. We have seen staff use the presentations to stall for time on controversial subjects, dragging the meeting out until many have to go home before even having a chance to speak.
With the presentations having been available in advance, there will be more time during the meetings for public comment and for actual debate among council members before they vote.
City staff gets to make PowerPoint and other audiovisual presentations, but the public is denied the same opportunity.
The Council also recently adopted Rosenberg’s Rules of Order as its parliamentary authority, in place of Robert's Rules of Order, which the City had been using for decades. Rosenberg's Rules of Order concentrates power in the hands of the mayor, taking it away from the rest of the City Council. This measure returns power back to the full council to control its meetings.
Measure M ("The Oxnard Open Meetings Act") was written to overcome these problems.
Measure M Frequently Asked Questions
1) What does Measure M do?
Most people cannot take time off during the workday to attend public meetings. Measure M requires council (and most other city legislative body) weekday meetings be held no earlier than 5:00 pm and weekend meetings no earlier than 9:00 am. There are certain exceptions allowed to provide some flexibility. The meeting time requirement does not apply to purely advisory bodies (such as the Citizen Advisory Groups, like the Senior Services Commission), nor does it apply to emergency meetings, meetings held in closed session, or meetings conducted outside of Oxnard. The legislative body may by a 4/5 vote waive the meeting time requirement if they make an advance reasonable determination that extenuating circumstances surrounding the starting time of a particular meeting prevent the legislative body from fulfilling its duties and that such circumstances cannot otherwise be obviated by alternative or additional meeting dates. Actions taken at meetings held in violation of this time requirement are deemed invalid.
Measure M guarantees that members of the public shall be given at least three minutes to address the legislative body on an agenda item. Today, the mayor can limit you to one minute at a City Council meeting, and deny you time altogether if a committee has previously heard the matter. This measure expands public opportunities to speak.
Measure M requires that staff presentations be prerecorded and made available to the public at the same time that the agenda is posted. This makes it possible for the public (and Oxnard City Council) to view them before the meeting. The measure states that the primary role of City staff at meetings is to answer questions posed by the legislative body, not to re-enact prerecorded presentations. This allows for more time for the public comment and for the council to engage in meaningful deliberation.
Measure M requires that City staff facilitate local residents who want to present videos or PowerPoint slides at meetings. By doing this, members of the public can have an equal footing with members of City staff.
Measure M restores the use of Robert's Rules of Order and requires that the city provide professional training on it so that meetings are conducted more efficiently and effectively, and to better allow for thoughtful deliberation and meaningful public participation.
2) Will prerecording of staff reports cost a lot of money?
Staff reports are already required to be recorded; it's just done during the meetings. Done properly, there is no legitimate reason why prerecording them should be more expensive.
3) Does Measure M dismantle city council committees?
No. It only requires that they meet weekdays after 5:00 pm or weekends after 9:00 am. The city council committees are the public's best opportunity for actually influencing the outcome before the full city council votes, so it's especially important for those opportunities to happen when most of the public can attend.
4) Does Measure M require the creation of a parliamentary style of government?
No. The opponents are confused. The city already has a parliamentary authority called Rosenberg's Rules of Order. Measure M changes the parliamentary authority back to Robert's Rules of Order, which was used by the Oxnard City Council for many decades until 2019. This does not change Oxnard's style of government, only some of their meeting rules.
5) What is a parliamentary authority and why did you choose Robert's Rules of Order to serve that purpose?
What is a parliamentary authority? It’s a fancy term for a book which contains the rules for how a group’s decisions will be made. A parliamentary authority helps a democracy function in an efficient and orderly way. The rules are intended to help members of a group propose actions, discuss the pros/cons of the proposed action, make decisions that reflect the true opinion of the majority of the group, and protect the rights of the members to meaningfully participate in the decisions.
Robert’s Rules is the most widely used reference book for meeting procedure in the English-speaking world. It is not just for large groups, but was actually designed with small groups in mind like neighborhood associations, school boards, churches, chess clubs – or even city councils. While the basic rules can be easily learned in just a few hours, one of the benefits of Robert’s Rules is that it has specific answers to many, many common what-if questions that will arise beyond the basics. The extra details available in Robert’s Rules means that fair processes have already been designed in advance, by meeting experts who don’t have a dog in your fight. That way your group can spend less time arguing about HOW to make the decision and instead focus on actually making the decision.
6) Where can I see the text of the Measure?
7) Where can I see your video about Measure M?
Paid for by Starr Coalition for Moving Oxnard Forward, a committee opposing Measure E; supporting Measures F, L, M and N.
2130 Posada Drive, Oxnard, CA 93030 ID# 1379154