By Gabriela Miranda
The Oxnard City Council District 6 ballot is the only all woman race—featuring Karla Ramirez, Vianey Lopez and Carolina Gallardo-Magaña. Ramirez hopes to evaluate and place help for children struggling with language barriers and online learning in Oxnard. Lopez strives to continue working in the development and community projects in South Oxnard, if reelected. Gallardo-Magaña hopes to bring social equity and an increased quality of life to South Oxnard residents.
In all of August, Ramirez hosted and participated in school supply drives and fundraisers to help collect needed material for children in South Oxnard. Ramirez, born in Michoacán, Mexico identifies as a first-generation immigrant. She is currently studying Sociology with an emphasis on systemic social inequalities at Oxnard College.
Her campaign focuses on three key words—educate, organize, mobilize. If elected, Ramirez will attend to children and online learning. Ramirez said she’s worked with children for six years, most from immigrant or indigenous families, and barely speak either English or Spanish.
“When it comes to their children’s education, these families do not only face economical barriers but also language barriers. It is disheartening to see that these families and these children have been left to fend for themselves when it comes to online learning,” Ramirez said to VIDA Newspaper.
Ramirez said she’s found the children balance issues from their parents working 12 hours a day, not having reliable WiFi, not having a dedicated education space and not being familiar with online technology. As the school year advances, she believes hundreds of children across the school districts are being left behind, educationally.
If the city is not providing adequate tools for the children to succeed, Ramirez believes they will not grow and eventually give back to Oxnard. In order to provide a good foundation, Ramirez will advocate for city-wide, free WiFi bandwidth and seminars for parents on the basics of apps such as Zoom and Seesaw. She’d like to set up tutoring from retired teachers and older students to help struggling students.
“Our children are the future, we need to make sure we are investing everything we can in order to make their future, and our future, a better, brighter, more hopeful one,” Ramirez said.
When she was a baby, her family and her immigrated from Mexico to the U.S.—she says they are people who worked in the fields, migrant people. Although they know what it’s like not to afford luxury in life, they appreciate and do best with what life has given them, Ramirez said.
She said the Latinx community in Oxnard are similar—they are hardworking, content to see their family grow and have food on the table. However, Ramirez believes the community deserves more, to be treated with dignity and respect. She said they deserve to build and own a home without an overly expensive rent and without living in fear in their own city.
“We deserve to travel quietly down the street without having to fear if I.C.E will stop us and take us to prison. We come to this country in search of a better future for ourselves and our families. We deserve to live in a place where we can have the right to work, study, live, celebrate, and enjoy life,” Ramirez said.
Lopez’s family roots are in South Oxnard—she immigrated to the city as a child and transitioned into her current role on the City Council to make a difference in the district. Before her time on the City Council, Lopez served on the Hueneme Elementary School District, which taught her about listening and helping the community.
The economy, housing and the COVID-19 pandemic are Lopez’s top priorities, she said her experience on the council and in government work has helped her stay ahead of the curve. Lopez said in preparing for what the city needs after November, it depends on whether the public votes on Measure E and how the increased sales tax will be used.
If Measure E passes, Lopez would like to see the funds allocated to bring back services in parks and community policing. Long term, she’d like to see the council invest in the city’s youth through programs and incentives that will push them to grow and succeed in Oxnard.
If reelected, Lopez will hope to expand on her current projects such as forming a community benefits district. The benefits district would be a business improvement district along Saviers road—the focus would be to invest in South Oxnard, attract businesses and make residents feel more comfortable exploring the area. Part of the project is also building a community space, called The Circle, as a way to “bring back South Oxnard and show that we do care.”
As a long-time Oxnard resident, Lopez said she wants voters to know she is committed to start these projects and better her home.
“This is my home. I want to see this city and community thrive in every way possible. I am committed to working together and partnering and creating those opportunities that will help our families thrive, and I feel very confident and comfortable in my abilities to perform and serve our residents in Oxnard,” Lopez said.
To Oxnard’s Hispanic community, Lopez said as a Latina immigrant, she’s an advocate for the diverse Latino population in the city. She also said the city has a large Black, African American and Filipino community that she hopes to focus and help as well.
“As a Latina I do bring a different, diverse perspective and knowledge. I hope to be that point of access for our Latino and all communities in the city,” Lopez said to VIDA Newspaper.
Gallardo-Magaña owns a residential care facility and spends her days caring for those with disabilities and illnesses. An Oxnard resident for 30 years, she said she’s yet to see a significant positive change in the city—this pushed her to run for a seat on the City Council.
Gallardo-Magaña has requested Hueneme High School as an in-person voting place and advocates to keep Fire Station Engine #62 on Pleasant Valley Rd. She’s worked with the Housing Authority to create a garden and park for the local community. Gallardo-Magaña has also provided school supplies and hosted Community Reading programs at parks. During and before the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s been active in distributing food to families in need in the city.
If elected, her foremost priority would be in helping families and communities find affordable housing in Oxnard. She also hopes to see more youth programs and a rise in social equity in South Oxnard.
“When I drive to North Oxnard, it feels completely different from South Oxnard. Complaints and issues are resolved quicker in the North than in South Oxnard, I want this to change,” Gallardo-Magaña said.
Regardless of the results in November, Gallardo-Magaña said she’s here to stay—she’s made herself and her phone number available to many residents and said she often receives calls for help and advice. She said many women who are victims of domestic violence call her and at times when she can’t help them, she guides them to others who can.
Her objective for the Hispanic community is the betterment of their lives and opportunities. She would like to see more social equity and quality of life for South Oxnard. As an immigrant who came to Oxnard without knowing English who now owns her own business, Gallardo-Magaña said she is the right choice for District 6.
“If I’ve achieved all of that in my life, I can achieve so much more in Oxnard,” Gallardo-Magaña said VIDA Newspaper.