The Oxnard District 2 Candidate Forum was held last Thursday where the three individuals running spoke on their platform and answered a variety of questions. The moderator was David Maron.

The forum was held online via Zoom and contenders Tai Hartley, Eduardo Huerta, and Gabriel Teran were all given two minutes to introduce themselves and a minute and a half per question.

A one-year term for the Oxnard District 2 seat is what the candidates are running for. District 2 covers part of North Oxnard that includes neighborhoods Orchard Park, Fremont North, Carriage Square, Wagon Wheel, Riverpark, and others.

Teran is currently in the City Council District 2 seat after being appointed in February.

Below are some of the questions the candidates answered during the forum.

How is District 2 unique and different from the other districts, and do you think that really matters?

Teran says that he finds District 2 to be incredibly unique and that it has some of the newest developments.

“We also have some really great economic growth that happened from the development of the Collection, and also the redevelopment of the esplanade,” Teran said.

Teran also said that District 2 is a great place to live and that it has great locally owned businesses.

Huerta said that District 2 has a lot to offer and that is has “a good demographic when it comes down to growth.”

Hartley said “yes and no” in response to the question and mentioned a few issues that she believes the district currently has.

“Residents in the south end of town also don’t get their fair share of the money’s worth,” Hartley said regarding taxes. “Harbor neighborhoods have unique issues as well with water quality, but everyone on the council has to work on all of these issues.”

Your view on the city making a major effort to rejuvenate downtown, what should that look like?

“I am not confident that the city has done enough to be able to manage the renovation of downtown,” Hartley said. “I think the city needs to stop overregulating and allow business owners to do what they do naturally if the city weren’t in the way.”

Hartley says that voters last year adopted a permit simplicity program and that the council members need to ensure that it is implemented so that permits can be obtained more efficiently.

Huerta says that he wants to focus on downtown’s historic parts, as well as making it more accessible for seniors.

“I think there is a lot of potential for downtown Oxnard,” Huerta said.

Teran says that it should absolutely be rejuvenated.

“The city actually has engaged business owners, and the business owners are part of the group that guides what is happening in downtown,” Teran said. “Really looking at the future, we have to think three-dimensionally on it…The idea for downtown is to create mixed use developments.”

How should the harbor be managed and rebuilt?

Hartley says that the fisherman’s wharf should not be left the way it is now and described it as an “embarrassment.”

“Unfortunately, the city and the county do not have a productive working relationship, but we need to fix our own internal problems if we are going to attract businesses willing to revitalize the harbor area,” Hartley said.

Teran says that the county and the city of Oxnard have had a strained relationship for a number of years, but that it’s been alleviated.

“Work is happening to rejuvenate the harbor area and there is work that is going to be happening, you can see the plans and staff reports where that came out,” Teran said.

Huerta says that it is time that the harbor area gets revamped so that it is more inviting to families.

“I think it is very important that we rebuild our Channel Islands’ harbor, it’s a community that we really need to focus on besides the downtown area,” Huerta said.

What would you like to see on Oxnard Blvd. now that it is a city street?

Huerta says that he would also like for Oxnard Blvd. to be more inviting, have more lighting and more action.

“Having more restaurants that are more inviting to families, sort of like main street Ventura,” Huerta said. “Make it a small business corridor.”

Teran agreed with Huerta and said that increased lighting would be great, as well as beautified landscaping.

“One thing that I think a lot of folks don’t realize and I didn’t learn until I was on Parks and Rec. is that along Oxnard Blvd. a lot of that property belongs to the railroad, so we are limited in what types of upgrades and enhances we can do,” Teran said.

Teran suggests that a collaboration with the railroad owners would be needed to help beautify the area more.

Hartley agreed with the other candidates and would like to see fewer potholes and have safer conditions for drivers and pedestrians.

The election is on November 2 – just a few days from now.