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By Chris Frost
Oxnard-- The Oxnard Mayoral Forum continues with Richard Linares thanking the INCO for providing candidates a venue to educate voters about the different choices they can make for mayor.
He told the viewers that the forum is a match to see who wins and hopes that no one walks away with any hard feelings.
"I have nothing but love and respect for you, and I pray for you on a regular basis," he said. "This is a political race. It's not about the person who is the weakest; it's about the person who shows their greatest strength."
He also applauded Deirdre Frank and was thrilled that she entered the race.
"If I'm not the next mayor, I would be honored to have you as the next mayor," Linares said.
He also took issue with Candidate John Zaragoza about his journeyman label and his experience.
"What has all his experience gotten Ventura County and the City of Oxnard," Linares asked. "You were the supervisor of the City of Oxnard, John Zaragoza; you were a council member. Oxnard is where it's at for the last 100 years because of its leadership and specifically the last 20 years of leadership. Please, as you continue to come at me with your experience and me making a joke, I am an educated, Hispanic, Latino, gay, Christian. I know my facts. This time is a limited to have a platform, but please, I would request a longer opportunity to be able to sit with people, and I've been waiting for this time. Everybody wants to hear what Richard has to say because you've been hearing my marketing stance. I don't have the money that John Zaragoza has, and I don't have the money Deirdre Frank has. I'm on unemployment and identify with people in the struggle. The bible says in Proverbs 357 to trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding, acknowledge him in all your ways, and he shall direct your path. I trust God above everything else. I wouldn't have stepped into this position if I didn't feel that God was behind me. Not everyone who wins American Idol becomes the most famous. Sometimes it's the second or the third runner up."
Zaragoza thanked the INCO for the forum and said he decided to run for mayor because he cares for and loves Oxnard.
"I've raised my family here, I believe in the city, and I believe the city needs a good leader," he said. "As your leader, I am going to bring Oxnard more businesses, a better lifestyle, support for all our youth, the youth is extremely important, and bring jobs."
He also plans to bring more senior programs to the city.
"Reduce crime rates, increase budget services and continue to work on the environment for the health and well-being of the community," he said. "I'm terming out from my position at the County of Ventura, but I am motivated to continue to help our city become much more than what it is. Oxnard needs my help. The budget needs a lot of help, and we need a leader who is going to solve city budgets. We need a leader who is going to bring businesses to downtown, whether it is small businesses, large businesses, and jobs. Without jobs, you don't have a base. How can somebody eat at a restaurant in Oxnard without a job? That's important."
Zaragoza thinks helping the homeless is essential.
"The Board of Supervisors shared $1.6 million to help the City of Ventura and Oxnard to provide housing, behavioral health, and social support to help unhoused individuals and get them off the streets," he said. "With our youth, we need to work with the Boys and Girls Club. When I was in Oxnard, we had the Oxnard Youth Employment Service Program. I trained and mentored many individuals who became public employees."
He advocates proper housing, healthcare workshops, and activities to help the seniors.
"Our veterans are extremely important," Zaragoza said. "My whole family is veterans, and I want to make sure they get the housing and support they need."
He also wants to keep the city clean and get the trash off the medians and gateways.
"Basic cleanliness is important," he said. "I am your leader, your mayor, and I have devoted my whole life to the beautification of Oxnard and the County of Ventura. I love my city. Vote for John Zaragoza.”
Frank also thanked the INCO and noted that it benefits the public.
"It's difficult campaigning in the age of Covid-19, so thank you for giving me access," she said.
Frank noted that everyone talked about their background and how they got to where they are now.
"My mother is a first-generation American," she said. "Her parents were from Ukraine. My grandmother was from Transylvania, and my grandfather was from Ukraine."
When they arrived in the United States, they spoke no English.
"My grandfather was a baker, and my grandmother stayed home and had seven daughters," she said. "My mother and her sisters, none of them went to college. My mother came to Hollywood from Boston, got married, and had three little girls. I was the oldest."
Frank's mother divorced in 1959, and Deirdre was six.
"Do you know what it was like being a kid of a divorced mother in 1959," she asked. "There was no child support then. It was difficult. She worked two or three jobs, and I never saw her."
Despite the trouble, Frank said the kids went to college.
"My sister has a Ph.D. in education, and my youngest sister graduated from UCLA and has an undergraduate degree in fine arts," she said. "I became a lawyer. We were overachievers, all of us. When we do something, we do it."
She chose to move to Oxnard; she loves the city and plans to stay in the city.
"I protect the beach, I protect Fisherman's Wharf, and I am a defender of Ormond Beach from the minute I heard about it," she said. "I am pleased our city manager has thought outside the box to get the Ormond Beach power plant out of here. In two years, we'll have a trust fund with $25 million to get that off our beach. Talk about enhancing the opportunities for South Oxnard. I want to be part of that."
She doesn't have relatives who hail from the city.
"I live here," she said. "I count, you count, vote for me, and let me be your voice, as abrasive as I might be."