While voters wait to find out who has been elected President, Oxnard’s electoral picture is clearer as virtually all incumbents got re-elected and two longtime officials switch places.
John Zaragoza exits his 5th District Supervisor spot to take over as Oxnard’s mayor, with City Councilmember Carmen Ramirez taking his place on the county board of supervisors.
“It has been an honor and a pleasure to have served as your City of Oxnard Councilmember and Ventura County Supervisor for the 5th district for the past 24 years,” Zaragoza said. “I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to serve the City of Oxnard as your Mayor.”
Zaragoza thanked his campaign staff, including Campaign Manager Bill Gallaher, Treasurer Tracy Gallaher, campaign committee members Rod Thorp, Lourdes Solorzano and Jess Valdez and supporters Liz De Haro and Patricia Garcia. The outgoing supervisor also thanked his daughter Linda Parra and granddaughter Jessica Parra.
“I’d like to especially acknowledge my grandson Jacob—and Jakeline—for going above and beyond to assist with my social media campaign,” he added.
Zaragoza easily defeated two rivals for the mayor’s spot, Oxnard Planning Commissioner Deirdre Frank and community activist Richard Linares.
With 47,317 votes cast, Zaragoza racked up 29,681 versus 10,122 for Frank and 7,514 for Linares, or 62.73 percent versus 21.39 and 15.88 percent respectively.
Zaragoza will be succeeding Tim Flynn, whom Ramirez defeated. Flynn has been Oxnard’s mayor since 2012.
While noting that not all the votes have been counted yet, Flynn accepted that Ramirez is the probable winner.
“I ran the best campaign of my life, and I can’t say it’s not from the effort I put forward—the best effort I put forward in all my time in politics,” said Flynn.
Flynn attributed his loss to factors beyond his control and not a rejection of his platform, which emphasized job growth as opposed to Ramirez’ focus on climate change and the environment.
“If a person can’t win with what I had lined up for me, there’s other factors at play,” Flynn said. “I have no regrets whatsoever.”
Flynn suggested those factors were being unable to campaign door-to-door because the COVID-19 crisis and newer, younger voters who don’t identify strongly with a white male candidate.
By contrast Ramirez was more cautiously optimistic about her apparent victory, emphasizing there were still many votes to be counted.
“It’s great to have the lead I have, it’s held through four updates,” on the county’s Web site, said Ramirez. “But I’ve had experiences with counts that have taken days, so I’ve learned not to start changing the drapes.”
Ramirez said she was glad her campaign against Flynn wasn’t as rough as her primary campaign in spring, when corporate opponents spent $500,000 on attack ads.
With 39,067 total votes from 69 of 90 county precincts reporting, Ramirez has 21,428 to Flynn’s 17,639, or 54.85 to 45.15 percent.
Ramirez’ victory means Oxnard’s city council must decide whether to hold a special election to replace her or appoint someone to fill in for the remaining two years of her term.
The council will also have to pick a new mayor pro tem to fill in for Zaragoza at meetings when he is not able to attend. Ramirez has been mayor pro tem since 2012.
Zaragoza and three city councilmembers will be sworn in at a ceremony in December. Ramirez will be sworn in as a supervisor in January.
Oxnard’s three re-elected councilmembers are Bryan MacDonald, Oscar Madrigal and Vianey Lopez.
In the contest for city treasurer, Phillip Molina easily outdistanced opponent James Aragon. Of 44,704 votes counted so far Molina has 28,275 votes to Aragon’s 16,429, or 63.25 to 36.75 percent.
With about 86 percent of the votes for several city ballot measures counted, Oxnard’s Measure E, a sales tax to raise more money for city services, is on track for approval with 25,813 votes in favor versus 22,454 votes against.
However Measure N, which earmarked sales tax money for repairing roads and makes that a priority ahead of anything else, is narrowly passing with 23,681 yes votes and 22,973 no votes.
Measure F, a proposal to streamline the permit review and approval process, faces a narrow defeat, with 24,070 no votes versus 23,195 yes.
Measure L, which makes the city’s chief financial officer an elected position, is getting overwhelming approval, with 29,003 votes in favor and 17,645 votes against.
Measure M, which would impose Robert’s Rules of Order on city council meetings, is passing with 25,674 votes in favor to 20,431 votes against.