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Members of the Greater Oxnard Organization of Democrats get ready to canvass the streets of Oxnard. (Photo by Chris Frost)
Thursday, February 13, 2020

By Chris Frost


Oxnard-- It was a mobilized effort by the Greater Oxnard Organization of Democrats (GOOD Club), Feb. 9, as the team took to the streets and spread the word about their candidates.


According to the club, the California Resources Corporation (CRC) has formed a PAC (Political Action Committee) and contributed $825,000 to a committee to stop Carmen Ramirez and Kim Marra Stephenson, from winning their Ventura County Supervisors races in districts 3 and 5.


Additionally, there are push polls taking place that offer information about Ramirez, and Stephenson asked in a survey form that both candidates vehemently deny.


Carmen Ramirez for Supervisor Campaign Manager Robert O'Riley said the issues are too important, and the people of Ventura County can't be bought.


O'Riley said it's not too late to get involved.


"As people may or may not know, there's a push poll out right now against Carmen Ramirez," O'Riley said. "People are calling and making false statements and giving out a lot of misinformation about Carmen Ramirez, her record, and the success of the city under her watch. We can't combat that with money. We have to fight that with people on the ground, and going door-to-door, getting the truth out there about Carmen and her record."


O'Riley is looking for people to come down to the GOOD Club on Saturday and Sunday and canvass, starting at 10 a.m. to help.


People who think they can't help because they don't understand the issues need not worry.


"Someone is always here in this office," O'Riley said. "We can help you understand the issues. We have literature to give you and your friends. We can answer any questions that you have. You can call the GOOD Club, and we'll call you back."


If you don't want to canvass, O'Riley said there are many other things to do to help the effort.


"If you can write, you're qualified," he said. "If you don't like your handwriting, we need people to put postage on postcards. There are lots of things to do, and there are always bagels, muffins, and coffee."


Student Jose Pool canvassed for eight hours and knocked on approximately 90 doors to spread the word.


"There are a lot of people who don't want to be bothered and don't care who they are voting for," he said. "They don't want to be informed."


Pool is a Cal State Channel Islands student, and he's taking a campaign and election class because it interests him.


"We get to volunteer," he said. "It's so cool to see the process behind everything. Climate change and the environment is the biggest issue for me this year."


Ventura resident William Barclay moved to Ventura about a year ago, and he wants to save the open spaces and protect the environment.


"We are concerned about additional fracking and oil drilling in Ventura County," he said. "Fossil fuels are a dead-end in terms of economic development and a sustainable environment. We read the questionnaires that Carmen Ramirez and Kim Marra Stephenson filled out and decided that these were the candidates we would back for county supervisor. "We're in district one, but those two candidates need our support."


Barclay likes Ramirez's background as a lawyer and her work helping people who can't afford to pay legal expenses along with Stephenson's history as an educator.


"When you talk to them, it's clear they have a commitment to a better life in Ventura County," Barclay said. "That's what we want too."


If someone receives a push poll talking about the other candidates, Barclay advises everyone to check their facts against reality.


"Don't believe the first thing you see in a social media ad, or hear on the phone," he said. "It's all too easy to create these false narratives by taking a few things out of context. Sometimes, they create stuff out of thin air and make stuff up as they go along. If there are people from the fossil fuel industry spending $825,000 on this election, there are going to be people doing this kind of stuff."


Peg Strobel canvassed with Barclay and has been working on Stephenson's campaign but decided to step up for Ramirez, as well.


"While we don't live in those districts, they are important to the county," Strobel said. "We got involved when it seemed like races are critical.


If she encounters a Republican, her first question when she engages them is what about the future and pollution.


"I will ask them about the old wells that haven't been used for years but aren't capped," she said. "Then, the company ends up going out of business, and the taxpayers end up paying for the remediation."


She advises voters to think about the consequences down the line.


"The oil industry is a declining industry," she said. "That means they are going to be fighting harder, and they need to be stopped. You can only go so far to try and appeal to someone's best interests."


For more information, visit greateroxnarddemocrats.com.