Oxnard’s city council picked Parks and Recreation Commissioner Gabe Teran to take over for former city councilmember Carmen Ramirez at a special meeting on Thursday night, February 3, 2021.
Teran, who works for the Ventura County Office of Education, was sworn in immediately following the meeting but will have a ceremonial induction to the council at its Feb. 16 meeting.
“I want you to know that I don’t look at this as a job—this is not a job, this is a responsibility I’ve been entrusted with,” Teran said. “I will take it incredibly seriously and dedicate the time that it takes for me to do the job.”
A member of Oxnard’s GOOD Club, Teran, 38, chairs the Fremont South neighborhood council and is known for his Facebook videos explaining complex city council issues to residents.
Teran will represent District 2, the section of Oxnard that includes its blighted Wagon Wheel and upscale Riverpark neighborhoods along the Hwy. 101 corridor.
His appointment is temporary, with a special election to pick Ramirez’s replacement scheduled for later this year in November.
The winner of that election will finish Ramirez’ four-year term, which ends in 2022. Ramirez, a 12-year member of the council, was elected to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors on Nov. 3.
Teran’s selection followed three hours of presentations by others who had applied for the spot on the council, including Oxnard School Board President Veronica Robles-Solis.
Eleven of the 13 applicants—Tai Hartley dropped out and Vincent Stewart didn’t join the Zoom meeting—made their cases for getting the job.
After candidates answered questions from councilmembers, 17 people spoke in the public comment part of the meeting, 13 of them to endorse Teran.
“Gabe is an advocate not just for Dist. 2 but for the city as a whole,” said Noemi Valdez, who lauded Teran for explaining issues in clear unbiased language in his videos.
“He is totally vested in assuring the Oxnard community is informed of local governmental issues and the impact these issues have on our lives,” Valdez said.
Only Alicia Purcell spoke against Teran, calling him a “city council yes-man” and noting he had opposed some of the changes voters approved in November to how the city operates.
Purcell, who co-sponsored several of those ballot measures with her husband Aaron Starr, suggested Teran’s opposition to them showed he wasn’t in tune with the community.
After public comments Mayor John Zaragoza asked councilmembers for their top choices, which didn’t result in anyone getting a majority vote.
Councilmember Bert Perello backed Ricardo Torres, Zaragoza and Bryan MacDonald supported Teran and Robles-Solis was backed by Gabriela Basua, Oscar Madrigal and Vianey Lopez.
To avoid a tie the council dropped Torres, and Lopez and Perello switched their support to Teran, making the decision unanimous.
Currently the Oxnard Council is made up of 7 councilmembers of which 5 are Hispanic, in a city where more than 75% of the total of more than 200,000 residents are Hispanic.