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City Attorney Stephen Fischer (Courtesy photo)
Thursday, October 8, 2020

By Chris Frost




Oxnard-- In a report to the city council, Oct 6, City Attorney Stephen Fischer said on Sept 23, Governor Gavin Newsome signed an executive order extension that allows local government commercial eviction protections.


"That was the first director order the city manager signed that the council ratified," he said. "That order has built into it allowing to be extended on the governor's authority. Under the new executive order by Governor Newsome, That deadline is now extended until March 31, 2021. The existing protections for commercial tenants stay in place from eviction. Those are spelled out in the director order 20-01, posted on the city's website, and provides the basis by which a commercial tenant can submit to their landlord a COVID-related justification for inability to pay rent. If commercial tenants have questions, they can contact the city."


Over the last several months, City Manager Alex Nguyen said that since the pandemic began, he emphasized how important it is to keep all the employees safe, especially the front line employees.


"I've made the point that even if we have to quarantine any of our employees, that it would provide a financial strain on us," he said. "We don't have enough bodies to backfill on straight time. We would have to resort to spending overtime. We've been doing a good job through this pandemic, keeping the people safe. A week ago, we had an incident within our fire service where we had to quarantine 12 personnel, 10 of who were front-line firefighters. We were able to get through that period with only one person having a positive test. Everyone else is coming back negative so far. We had to recall the firefighters who were out across the state, providing mutual aid in some of the wildfires. We had to call them back here to provide station coverage."


That made Nguyen nervous.


"Had we had a secondary requirement to quarantine another group, we would have been absolutely short-handed with our fire service," he said. "The good news is we came through this particular quarantine period, and it looks like we are going to come through it this week." 


The county is making progress on the state's regulations for opening the economy, he said, and a bunch of businesses, like gyms, hair salons, and restaurants, can reopen with regulations for each sector.


"Please, if you haven't done it and you are a business owner or a manager, please go to vcreopens.com, and review the exact guidelines for your sector," he said. "One thing that was a little complicated was what does the state mean when you have, depending on your sector, a certain percentage of capacity, whether it's 50 percent or 25 percent or 10 percent. We learned through discussing with the county, who also discussed it with the state authority, that it's a percentage of your fire code capacity. It isn't necessarily the number of customers you normally have. If your fire code capacity is 50, and your sector is allowed 50 percent, that means you can have 25 people."


The city has another virtual workshop for the proposed homeless solutions center at 6 p.m. on Oct 19.


To register for the event, call Paul McClaren at 805-385-3945, or email him at paul.mcclaren@oxnard.org.


The city recently received an Environmental Protection Agency grant to help the city break down organic waste and turn it into electricity at the city's wastewater facility.


"Our public works department pursued this grant, and the feds are providing us with $182,000 to make this effort," he said. "That's some good news."


The census deadline has been extended to Oct 31.


"If you haven't taken the time to complete the census form, please do so," Nguyen said. "You can do it on average in about 10 minutes. It is crucial for federal funding for programs like education and healthcare in our community for the next 10 years."


The city's public works department recently cleaned up a few more homeless encampments.


"In Sept, we did a dozen of these, and we'll continue to clean them up as we are able to,” he said. "It's something we do our best to keep on top of it, even though there is a lot, and it's difficult."