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Jo Ann Oliveras expresses her frustration with the city council. (Photo by Chris Frost)
Wednesday, January 8, 2020

By Chris Frost


Oxnard— During public comments at the Jan. 7, Oxnard City Council meeting, resident Jo Ann Oliveras took the city council to task and harshly criticized them.


She told the council that she had a heavy heart and is angry with some of the council members.


"Over the past few months, I have heard so many negative things going on in our city," she said. "There are things going on within our city council and in the city itself. That responsibility lies upon all of you sitting at the dais."


She qualified her statement and said it's not everyone, but the ones who are doing it know who they are.


"First of all, our city is in the bright red right now, and it seems to get worse and worse," she said. "We talk about transparency and all that, and we know that it's not happening. We are citizens of Oxnard, and we are being treated like we are stupid, and we're not. We are educated people and we try to be inclusive of those who don't quite understand to help them understand."


She told the council that there is a company in the city that owes a lot of money, and the city allows it to continue to grow.


"The person who brought out that information has been muzzled," she said. "They've been taken away access to information they should have. This is an elected position, and they're not getting that information now? Excuse me? Because we don't want transparency in our city."


Oliveras said people have their water turned off who can't pay their bill, and those people can prove they can't afford the bill.


"Yet, we allow big companies, like the one we have in Oxnard, to continue to function in this city and not hold them accountable," she said. "We're in the bright red. Anyone who is tired of these issues needs to think about these issues on the dais. You (the council) need to run our city. Not the city manager. We can't continue to pay for people to lose their position, because somebody wants their friend to have the position."


Mayor Tim Flynn said Oliveras could call him anytime, and it is the first time he's heard about these issues.


"I know that members of the council would also be open to meeting with you," he said.


Councilman Bert Perello added that Oliveras needs to check her facts before she believes what's on the internet.


"You can be made to look like, no matter how much education you have, a damn fool," he said.


During council comments, Bert Perello said there are nine elected officials. Seven sits at the dais, one that is not there, and one that straddles the back room.


"To my knowledge, there are no laws that prevent those nine from making a public comment if they have something to say," he said. "When they don't say something, that leaves a lot to the imagination. 


His comment that if you don't check your facts, you can make a damn fool of yourself may have been harsh, but the point is that when he had discussions with City Treasurer Phil Molina if there was a mistake made he told him.


"You should come to the public comments, and when a mistake is made, you should correct me or apologize," he said. 


Molina walked up to the podium to comment, but Perello said he didn't put a speaker card in so the mayor would challenge him.


"Miss Oliveras, I appreciate your concerns, but some of the things he (Molina) has eloquently put out on the emails leave a lot to be desired with being 100 percent factual," Perello said.


Molina said he'd invited Perello to his office numerous timers to show him the facts.


Flynn said if he continued to comment, it would violate the Brown Act.


"I can not allow that," he said. 


Molina said Perello knows where to come and get the facts.


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