The race for City Council in District 3 is down to three individuals—Aaron Starr, Oscar Madrigal and Ronald Arruejo.
Aaron Starr holds a background in finances and strives to utilize that knowledge to bring more jobs into the city. Madrigal was elected into the council in 2016 and hopes to build off his goals for the youth and engagement. While Arruejo, Oxnard native seeks to make road repair a priority in the annual budget.
Each candidate spoke to Vida News in an interview and this is what they said.
Starr lives in Oxnard and has worked in the city since 2003—he said most of his opponents cannot say they also work in the city. He said as a resident and worker, he’s able to hear and gauge the needs and concerns within Oxnard such as the conditions of the streets and lack of jobs located in the city.
“My background is particularly helpful in that I am the financial controller of a large company here in town. We’re the largest manufacturer and we employ 1400 people. More than half of them live here in Oxnard. We hired people who live here,” Starr said.
Starr said his company gives employees high wages and benefits, which if elected, he’d like to see promoted by other companies in the city.
One of his initiatives is to be transparent with the public, which pushed Starr to advocate for Measure L. The measure would require the city to post its invoices online—Starr said this would show where and how money is spent. Another measure he hopes will pass is Measure F, he said it will implement a straight-line permit system which would bring more businesses into the city.
Starr also hopes to see a dramatic improvement in the streets conditions of Oxnard, he said by fixing them now it’ll be less expensive in the future and will free up money for other resources.
“When you think about your car, if you didn’t change the oil, you’re going to have a problem, right? It will be really expensive. Well, it’s the same with streets if you don’t, if you don’t promptly keep your streets well maintained,” Starr said.
Starr also believes his background in finances will aid the City Council in making key decisions regarding the budget and sales taxes. If elected, Starr hopes to raise the quality of life in Oxnard and do so with transparent and efficient practices and goals.
In a message to the Hispanic and Latinx community, Starr said the community are hard-working proud people who are industrious and family oriented. He wants the government to aid and not hinder their success and hopes to see that happen, if elected.
“Our city wouldn’t be the same without the Hispanic and Latinx community, I want to make sure we all reach our full potential and grow,” Starr said.
Born and raised in Oxnard, Ronald Arruejo is a graduate of the University of California. Arruejo, who obtained his M.PA. later transitioned to the federal government as a Financial Management Specialist to optimize various programs to better utilize taxpayer’s money. He is also serving as the Secretary-Treasurer for Oxnard’s East Village Neighbourhood for a third year.
His career and life in Oxnard have given him a glimpse at the city’s largest needs—foremost, road repair. He said he is constantly hearing about the state of Oxnard’s road and vows to make road repair a priority in the annual budget as well as Measure E funds to ensure that infrastructure improvement is given a higher priority.
Arruejo said as of the latest Measure O community report, Roadway Repair was just the fifth most funded activity. Based on a more recent 2019 report specifically about Measure O, Street Maintenance & Repairs only made up 13% of the total FY18 expenditures.
“Repairing the roads not only enhances the city’s look, but also saves money for drivers on costly repairs to their vehicles. I will make sure that the benefits are highlighted more in budget discussions with regards to improving our roadways and thoroughfares and will fight to make sure it is of higher importance, Measure E or not,” Arruejo said.
Since Oxnard is the largest city in the county, Arruejo said it should be better economically—he said the city needs new ideas in order to invest and enhance its future.
Arruejo, a Filipino-American said he feels connected to the culture and needs within the Hispanic and Latinx community in Oxnard. If elected, Arruejo said he hopes to advocate and to lead the community to success.
“I want to let the Hispanic community know that even though I do not identify as such, the struggles to keep honest with your own cultural heritage while still advancing to make a better life for yourself and your family is something I live through every day, but makes me a better person, and hopefully councilman, to advocate for you,” Arruejo said.
Madrigal is an Oxnard native and attended Channel Islands High school, he also worked at Oxnard Union High School District for seven years as either a substitute teacher or as social science teacher.
This background in the school district familiarized him with the needs and struggles within community and youth. In 2016, Madrigal was elected onto the City Council and said he witnessed the ups and downs of the city in the last four years.
As a council member, Madrigal said he’s learned how to work well with others and understands the ins and outs of the role. If re-elected, Madrigal believes from a city perspective, the reserves are fairly low and need to be addressed. From a personal priority, he said he’d like to assist the neighbourhood’s needs in his district. He said he is a candidate who will show and act like he cares before, during and after the election—he said the role of a councilmember involves everyday engagement.
“It’s about not only talking to residents, but building relationships with neighbours and growing in that sense. It’s about doing what’s best for the city,” Madrigal said.
Madrigal also is an advocate for youth outreach, he said Oxnard should strive to have a positive relationship with the youth. Once the young adults grow up, graduate or leave Oxnard, they may come back and contribute to the city, Madrigal said.
He said the city needs to create new and engaging activities to keep the youth’s joy and needs.
If re-elected, Madrigal said he would build on the last four years—his advantage comes from already understanding the workload and regulations within the council. He’d also move forward with helping local organizations and re-instil a sense of community and participation once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
“It could realistically be a clean slate of new things because things are going to change once the pandemic is over. There are a lot of negatives that COVID is bringing, but if there is one positive it’s that it does create an open slate and it does give others an opportunity to grow from this terrible pandemic,” Madrigal said.
Madrigal’s parents immigrated to the U.S. as teenagers—for the Hispanic and Latinx community, he understands how important representation on the City Council is. He understands and said he doesn’t take lightly his role as a representative of District 3’s Hispanic community.
Although he said he does not like to make promises he rather show what he can do for the community. He vows to remain truthful and an advocate.
“I know I’m not going to promise something that I know that I can not accomplish. And that is very crucial to me, because I give everybody my word and work. And that’s more than anything that I could do for the community. I know I’m a representative for the community in general, so I don’t take it lightly,” Madrigal said.