Oxnard City Council’s District 2 election will feature a repeat of last year’s special election, with incumbent Gabe Teran facing off against Riverpark resident Tai Hartley.

Tai Hartley
Gabe Teran

“I’ve been on the council since 2021, now I want to continue the work,” Teran said, explaining that he wants to see ongoing projects completed.

“The voters entrusted the city with money from Measure E,” said Teran, referring to the sales tax voters approved in November 2020.

“We have to keep up the aesthetic appearance of landscaping and parks despite drought conditions,” Teran said.

Another project Teran wants to see through is the planned aquatic center, which has drawn some criticism from skeptics who say the money would be better spent elsewhere.

But Teran said a swimming pool is not a waste of money but a way to help youth be successful.

“So many grow up not knowing how to swim,” Teran said. “There’s not only a safety issue but they deserve to know how to swim as a matter of equity—if they go to a pool party, what are they supposed to do, sit around?”

Teran said another issue that would be a major priority for Measure E funds would be water and rebuilding the city’s aging infrastructure.

“This is going to be a fight not just for Oxnard but the entire southwest,” Teran said. “The water purification plant has us positioned well, and we’re already well under way to the city’s pipes being replaced.”

A former Parks and Recreation commissioner, Teran’s city council career began after the late Carmen Ramirez was elected to the Board of Supervisors in November 2020.

Teran was appointed by council in February 2021 to fill Ramirez’ seat until the November 2021 special election. He beat Hartley in that election, and is running for reelection for the first time.

Hartley, who first ran for council in 2018 but had to drop out for health reasons, said she has planned to run for city council for some time.

“Even though I lost last time, it didn’t hurt my determination,” said Hartley said. “I want to continue to highlight topics that need more transparency and accountability.”

Hartley says the city’s spending priorities and mismanagement of funds are two of the things she thinks need attention, and that she’d like to see more community involvement in decisions.

“The city needs to learn the difference between needs and wants,” said Hartley. “If we can do that in our households, City Hall can do the same.”

Hartley gave as example the city’s plans for building an aquatic center while the Carnegie Museum and Performing Arts Center need repairs.

Spending more than it had budgeted for office supplies bought from Amazon is an example of the city’s mismanagement of funds, Hartley said, as well as buying vehicles without community input.

Hartley has long been a critic of the Mello-Roos tax, the special district tax that is used instead of property taxes to fund infrastructure services in Riverpark. Hartley thinks it would be cheaper for residents to get services from the city.

“But I don’t want anybody to think I’m just concerned about Riverpark,” Hartley said. “If I’m going to do this, I’m doing it for the whole community.”