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To our valued Chamber members and supporters:
By the time you read this, there will likely be multiple updates and developments in the unprecedented Coronavirus pandemic we are confronted with.
We have canceled all in-person Chamber meetings and events until further notice, but we are conducting business as usual virtually whenever possible
Please know we are by your side to help our business community address the exceptional challenges we face today.
There are multiple resources on our website to help our business community through these unprecedented times. We are fortunate to partner with other organizations in Ventura County that are focused on saving and rebuilding our local economy, as so many businesses struggle to survive. Hopefully, you will find some answers and recommendations here.
Please don't hesitate to call on us for anything. We are here to help!
By Chamber CEO Nancy Lindholm
Transparency in government is paramount. The more the citizenry believes its best interests are a top priority of elected officials, the more confidence it has in local government.
The City of Oxnard placed Measure B on the March 3, 2020, ballot to assure the utmost transparency. The measure will limit the mayor and council members to three four-year terms and impose strict campaign contribution limits.
Measure B also will prohibit elected officials from accepting gifts from lobbyists and city contractors.
It also requires the city to post monthly financial reports on its website, as well as information on high-ticket city contracts.
The Chamber's Board of Directors reviewed Measure B prior to the city council placing it on the March ballot and voted to support it.
For more information and the official ballot language for Measure B, visit www.oxnard.org/measureb.
A Message From Chamber CEO Nancy Lindholm
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently released its quarterly Small Business Index, which reached a record high of 71.3, up 0.6 points from the third quarter of 2019. It's the highest score since the survey launched in 2017.
The high score for 2019 Q4 is the result of two elements: small businesses' strong outlook on their local economy and optimism about their own business health.
Key findings of the Q4 results are:
Other highlights of 2019 Q4 findings are:
On the downside, manufacturers are growing pessimistic. Small manufacturers have become more pessimistic about the national economy over the last two quarters with an 11% decline (from 69% in Q2 to 58% in Q4).
To read the entire Small Business Index, go to www.uschamber.com/sbindex
A Message From Our CEO Nancy Lindholm
There is bad blood between the City of Oxnard and the County of Ventura. Both sides have dug in and are not budging. Oxnard's denial of a local coastal plan amendment on November 7 was the latest episode in an ongoing battle. The victim was the redevelopment of Fisherman's Wharf, which the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce has supported for more than three years.
The fight is over control. The County owns all of the property adjacent to the water of Channel Islands Harbor south of Channel Islands Boulevard. However, they need Oxnard to amend its local coastal plan to allow residential, mixed-use development at the old Fisherman's Wharf site. If Oxnard issues that amendment, it loses control over the project. So, we have a stalemate.
The fight over control has not only stalled, if not destroyed, the Fisherman's Wharf project, but it has delayed the rebuild of the Casa Sirena Marina Hotel on the Peninsula in the Harbor. There is also fighting over park maintenance and harbor patrol services.
This has gone on long enough! It's like watching a very nasty divorce unfold. The City and County should call in an arbitrator to seek compromises from both sides. This fight has been going on for three-and-a-half years.
The Chamber urges both parties to work toward reconciliation of who has approval and permitting authority in and around Channel Islands Harbor. The maintenance issues also need to be addressed.
It is likely one of the current Oxnard City Council members will be elected to District 5 of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors in 2020. How will that person deal with this conflict in their new role?
A Message From Our CEO Nancy Lindholm
The Oxnard Chamber's Board of Directors and Political Action Committee have both voted to oppose five local measures currently being circulated for signature gathering in our community. The Board believes each and every measure will have a negative impact on city operations, should voters pass them.
Here are summaries and excerpts from the proposed initiatives. This is not the exact language of each initiative.
Term Limits for the Mayor and Councilmembers; Extension of the Mayor's Term
This initiative would impose term limits on the Mayor and members of the City Council. The proposed initiative states that once a person has served as the Mayor and/or as a member of the City Council for two consecutive terms or a combination of full and partial terms totaling seven consecutive years, that person could not be elected or appointed to be the Mayor or a member of the City Council. That prohibition would remain in effect for two consecutive years before becoming eligible again. This initiative would also change the length of time of the Mayor's term from two years to four years starting on November 8, 2022.
Early Termination of Measure O Sales Tax; Extension of Measure O Sales Tax
This initiative ties the condition of the city's streets and alleys to the Measure O Sales tax. It uses the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) to measure pavement. The proposal states:
Expansion of Duties of Elected City Treasurer By Appointing the City Treasurer as Director of Finance and Giving the City Treasurer Additional Duties
City regulations currently provide for a Director of Finance to be responsible for city financial reporting, fiscal and accounting duties, budget management, grants, and risk management. The elected City Treasurer performs statutory duties assigned under state law and duties assigned by the City Manager. Under this proposed initiative, the City Treasurer's existing duties would continue and be expanded to include:
New Requirements Regarding the Way in Which City Council Meetings, Council Committees and Other City Legislative Bodies Are Run
City meetings are subject to the Brown Act. This initiative would impose specific new local regulations regarding the way in which the meetings of the city legislative bodies are run.
Expedited Processing of Certain City-Issued Development Permits
This initiative would add a new chapter to the Oxnard City Code that would set up a streamlined permit review and approval process for certain projects that meet specific criteria. The initiative calls for the city to develop a training program for specified licensed professionals (architects and civil engineers) in order to file project plans with the city.
The five ballot initiatives were drafted and brought forth by Aaron Starr, an unsuccessful candidate for city council and mayor. Mr. Starr was also the proponent of the attempted recall of the mayor and city council members that triggered a special election for Oxnard voters in 2018.
The Chamber will continue to follow the progress of these measures as they are filed with voter signatures, the signatures are verified, and (if applicable) which ballot they will appear on.
A Message From Our CEO Nancy Lindholm
Over the 100+ years the Oxnard Chamber has been serving the business community, we have addressed countless challenges for our members. Many times, these are run-of-the-mill issues such as business license fees, water rates and code compliance, but sometimes major issues surface.
One that comes to mind is the 2008 Oxnard Traffic Initiative ballot measure that would have stymied economic development for decades. This particular measure would have prohibited development of more than 10,000 square feet that was located within a five-mile radius of an intersection that performed poorly at peak traffic flow times. The Chamber realized the long-term impact of such restriction, partnered with real estate and labor interests, and waged a strong campaign to successfully defeat the measure. Problem solved!
Businesses approach the Chamber all the time with challenges they are experiencing.
We are currently working with a handful of companies that are being asked to eliminate boron from their wastewater, and we understand there will also be new limits for TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) in wastewater. The new mandates are coming from the California State Water Quality Control Board. There is currently no restriction on the amount of boron that can be discharged into the ocean, but since Oxnard recycles its wastewater, new rules come into play. This is an ongoing issue we hope to have resolved soon.
The Chamber started working with a couple of craft breweries in Oxnard about six months ago. We discovered that Oxnard restricted anyone under age 21 from being in a brewery that did not have its own kitchen to serve food. We checked with other cities in Ventura County and no one else had that provision (maybe that's why Oxnard only has two breweries!). Chamber staff worked with the Community Development department of the city and found that ABC regulations do not allow cities to impose an age restriction for this alcohol license type. City staff reached out to both breweries and have administratively modified their permits and removed the condition with the age restriction. Problem solved!
Over the 15+ years I have worked for the Oxnard Chamber, we have addressed scores of problems challenging the business community. Some of them just take a bit of common sense; others require a coalition to fight. This is what we are here for and why we exist.
If you run across a problem, please don't hesitate to let us know about it. We just might be able to resolve it!
Sexual harassment in the workplace can be very expensive!
A Message From Our CEO Nancy Lindholm
Sexual harassment prevention training is not an option – it's the law. Employers must take reasonable steps to prevent harassment. Every California employer with five or more employees is required to provide every worker with prevention training.
A work culture that tolerates harassment not only incurs legal risks (along with legal fees and costs), but also creates other problems including:
Take this quick quiz (from the California Chamber of Commerce) to test your understanding of your responsibilities for providing sexual harassment prevention training.
How did you do?
Harassment prevention training for all supervisors and employees is required in California (for companies with five or more employees). Training is an essential component of any harassment prevention program – especially when combined with company leadership on these issues. Those at the top level of company management must not only set the proper tone, but also dedicate the necessary time and resources to meet their prevention obligation and ensure their efforts are effective.
Training must be completed by January 1, 2020 or within six months of hiring a new employee. However, there is no need to wait! Harassment prevention training now can help avoid a potential claim.
The Oxnard Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the California Chamber to provide easy, affordable training for workers and supervisors.
Order your online training today! You will receive a 20% discount when you purchase through this link.
You will have to create a CalChamber store account, but you are not required to become a preferred member. The Oxnard Chamber 20% discount will be applied during checkout.