Oxnard City Council race surprise reversal; county voter turnout breaks records

Just when you thought the November elections couldn’t get any more dramatic, we present the race for Oxnard City Council, which has officially been decided after a back-and-forth contest spanning several weeks.

Oscar Madrigal

Through much of November, City Council candidate Aaron Starr led the way — but as the month came to an end, Spanish teacher Oscar Madrigal squeezed out a victory with the final tally putting him over Starr by 600 votes. Madrigal’s sister, Monica Madrigal Lopez, won her bid for Oxnard School District board by 100 votes as well.

Starr had been ahead for several weeks up until very recently. Starr authored Measure M, Oxnard’s wastewater rate repeal, which passed easily. The Oxnard City Council sued Starr earlier in the year to stop the measure from appearing on the ballot, making for interesting speculation on how well the Council would work together in coming years. Starr met with each current member of the Council individually when it appeared that he was heading for victory.

Madrigal opposed Measure M, as did the majority of candidates running for Council, though the measure passed with 72 percent of the vote.

Oxnard City Council incumbent Bryan MacDonald also won re-election.

Michelle Ascension

Another close race in Oxnard was for city treasurer. After the votes were finalized, Phillip Molina has been declared the winner in that race, overcoming Lawrence Paul Stein by 749 votes. City clerk was another tossup with multiple candidates in the mix. In the end, Michelle Ascencion was declared the victor with 19.13 percent of the vote.

Across the county, voter turnout smashed a record created in 2008 when President Barack Obama was elected. At 82 percent voter turnout, the new record may be hard to top in years to come. Another record set this year: Number of registered voters nearly exceeded 443,000.

Ventura City Council passes temporary ban on commercial marijuana

On Monday, Dec. 5, the Ventura City Council voted to ban temporarily all commercial activity related to marijuana cultivation within the city. The temporary ban has a 45-day lifespan, after which the city is expected to extend the ban for up to 10 months as the city considers regulation for potential legal marijuana sales in the city.

On Nov. 8, California passed Proposition 64, which allows for the sale and commercial cultivation of marijuana in the state, but the proposition also allows individual cities and counties to adopt regulations and taxes tailored for their specific needs.

The proposition passed at the county level with 55.56 percent of the vote.

Over the next 11 months, the City Council could vote to ban all commercial activity, adopt specific regulations and taxes, or, if it chooses to do nothing, leave it to the state laws and regulations.

Regardless of what the City Council chooses, the new law allows for individuals to grow up to six marijuana plants within their homes and to transport said plants regardless of whether or not prohibition on other activities are in place.