Oxnard PD defends offline red light traffic cameras

Oxnard’s red light cameras have been offline since January, and on Tuesday, July 18, the Oxnard Police Department let it be known that they would like to change that.

Oxnard Police Chief Scott Whitney told the City Council that the lights save lives and that known issues regarding timing have been fixed. The City Council gave the Department the go ahead to respond to the Grand Jury report, issued in early June, critical of the city’s contract and handling of the system, but did not make a decision on whether or not to reactivate it.

The city’s network of 11 so-called “approaches” (lights that are monitored by a camera) at eight intersections were deactivated after the contract with camera operator Redflex was allowed to expire. The city had had a contract with Redflex since 2003.

In May of 2016, a citizen alerted the Oxnard chief of police that several yellow lights were out of compliance with state mandated “minimum yellow light” intervals, the time before the light switches to red. A posted speed limit of 50 miles per hour would require a minimum yellow-light interval of 4.7 seconds as standardized by the state of California’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

Lights out of compliance included the intersections of Rose Avenue and Gonzalez Road with a posted speed of 45 miles per hour. At the 85th percentile, the speed had been set to 51 miles per hour, which would require a 4.7-second minimum yellow interval. The approach, however, had been set by the city to 5 seconds, meaning that the light was still yellow when drivers legally entered the intersection but that they would have been captured on camera from 4.7 to 4.9 seconds, and cited.

The Police Department says that the issues have been fixed and refunds issued for those who received tickets in error.

The city’s contract with Redflex includes a “cost neutral” clause that, by design, would zero out any balance owed to the company at the end of the contract, but a recent report by the Ventura County Grand Jury called the contract vague and “not well vetted,” noting that it could become a debt burden. The city owes over $800,000 on its current balance, according to the Grand Jury’s report, but at the July 18 city council meeting, the Oxnard Police Department responded to the report, disagreeing with the notion that the contract hadn’t been well vetted and that there exists a significant balance owed.

Sewage spill closes Oxnard beach

On Tuesday, July 16, a sewage line 1 mile out into the ocean discharged 219,000 gallons of Oxnard’s ripest, according to the city of Oxnard, which notified the Ventura County Environmental Health Division, the cause of the discharge being a power outage at the treatment plant.

Parts of Ormond Beach and Port Hueneme Beach Park have been closed temporarily until samples meet ocean water quality standards.

Sports harvested shellfish from the area should not be consumed, and anyone coming into contact with contaminated water should be cleansed immediately.

For further information, call city of Oxnard at 488-3517.

County requests input on General Plan vision

Got an idea on how the county should revise its General Plan? Then good news: You’ll have your opportunity to share at a series of public meetings through August.

The County of Ventura Planning Division will host several meet-and-greets with the public to gather comments on the proposed “Vision and Set of Guiding Principles for the County General Plan Update.” Several Advisory Council meetings and open houses will be hosted, and an online questionnaire will also be available.

The next meeting will be at a meeting of the Del Norte/El Rio Municipal Advisory Council Meeting at 7 p.m., July 20, at the Roger Jones Community Center, 2864 Jourdan St., Oxnard. An information booth will be hosted from July 24 through July 28 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the County Government Center, 800 S. Victoria Ave., Ventura.

Further meetings will be held through Aug. 12 in Oak Park (July 25) and Somis (July 26), and open houses will be held on July 29 in Saticoy, Port Hueneme and Fillmore. An open house will be held in Simi Valley on Aug. 5 and in Frazier Park on Aug. 12; and the final meeting will be hosted in Camarillo on Sept. 21.

For further information and locations, and to complete the online questionnaire, visit www.VC2040.org.