Oxnard residents in District 2 could end up being represented by a different councilmember than the one elected in Tuesday’s special election after boundaries are redrawn next year. This change on the make up of the districts can change all districts in the City.
If City Council candidate Gabe Teran should win, he could find himself in District 1 after the election because his home is close to the current District 2 boundary.
“Well, there’s some folks playing around with the numbers,” said Teran, who noted the final boundaries aren’t written in stone yet.
“Now that we’ve got more numbers, there’ll be some redrawing, but maybe not as much as we thought,” Teran said, adding, “If I’m in District 2, or if I end up in another district, I’m representing the whole city.”
Teran, who lives in the Fremont North neighborhood near District 2’s Ventura Road boundary, would be in District 1 if the boundary gets shifted slightly east.
If that happens, current District 1 Councilmember Bert Perello, who lives in the South Bank neighborhood, could become the District 2 representative.
Teran has filled in as District 2 representative on the council since February, when the council appointed him to temporarily replace Carmen Ramirez, who is now on the Board of Supervisors.
The Nov. 2 election will decide who serves the remaining year of Ramirez’ four-year term, which ends in 2022. Besides Teran, Tai Hartley and Eduardo Huerta are running for the seat.
Hartley says it wouldn’t be fair to people in North Oxnard to vote for one candidate and find themselves represented by someone else.
“(Teran) lives too far south, he will not represent North Oxnard,” said Hartley, who lives in Riverpark, which she says has grown more than expected since the current district boundaries were drawn.
“My concern is that he has not tried hard enough to make sure people (in Riverpark) are kept aware of issues,” said Hartley, who administrates a Facebook group for Riverpark residents.
“If there’s not someone like me in that (city council) position, how are people going to be notified?” Hartley asked.
Doug Pertello, who lives in District 1, pointed out that depending on when the new district boundaries go into effect, the result could be the winner of Tuesday’s election sits out the 2022 election to run again in 2024.
“I think the concern for some of these folks is, they’re being made promises, but it could all change,” Pertello said.
Teran encouraged people to attend the public hearings scheduled for people to give their thoughts on where district lines should be drawn.
Public hearings are scheduled to get feedback from residents on Monday, Dec. 6, Saturday, Jan. 22 and Thursday, Feb. 24. The new district boundaries must be finalized by April 17.
State law requires cities to redraw district lines every 10 years using the latest census data. Oxnard’s city council is using census figures released in August to redraw its six districts.
Until 2018 Oxnard had a five person council elected at large; top vote getters won seats regardless of where they lived in the city.
But in 2018 the city switched to district elections to avoid a lawsuit claiming at large elections kept Hispanics off the council. Six districts were drawn to allow two more members on the council.
Oxnard’s mayor is elected at large by all residents.