Are we Oxnard or are we … ???

February 11, 2010

Oxnard needs a flux capacitor at its disposal. Open up that public works budget!

I can’t decide if the Oxnard City Council needs to hop into a DeLorean with a mighty boost of 1.21 gigawatts and a Huey Lewis soundtrack, or if something more Victorian and H.G. Wells-ian is in order. But I propose that the solution to the identity problems of late for The ‘Nard could be solved with some obvious ventures into the realms of time travel.

Let’s face it, the city’s image has been mired, perhaps unfairly, as a place teeming with sinister gang violence, a place where the Mexican immigrant has no resources at their disposal, and a place where development is being planned and construction carried out quicker than our poor economy can handle. (The Collection? Of what?)

On top of that, the sorry situation of flood plain mapping means that all of this will wash away into the ocean, which Oxnard isn’t prepared for, either.

Past or future? Look back a half century ago, and Oxnard was this beautiful, rolling place rich with agriculture, devoid of things like gang injunctions or low-income housing quotas, because, basically, everyone was on a stable, working class income. Pretty much a polar opposite of what we have now … or could have.

Look ahead a half century, and city planners hope that Oxnard will be the city of the future, predicting a population increase of 50,000 within 20 years, and a booming economy aided by a large tourist influx. But are they getting too far ahead of themselves?

After the council delayed its decision on approving its 2030 plan this week, it sure looks like it. The plan, a document of goals the city would like to see in the next 10 years, has so many vague concepts in its pages that officials would be doing nothing less than a rush job by approving it in time for the June election.

Too many questions regarding the preservation of Ormond Beach; the future of the hit-by-the-apocalypse Halaco plant; the build-or-not-to-build Jones Ranch parcel; and others. Planners say they may need four months to examine all this stuff. That will put us at June, when voters were expected to make all this official to begin with.

The 2030 general plan needs further re-examination – maybe another full year – before Oxnard can confidently secure and solidify its own future in Ventura County before it implodes on itself. And no amount of time travel into the future will be able to replace what needs to be done in the present.

Otherwise, Oxnard might go from “The City That Cares” to “The City That Was.” And that would be an identity crisis and a half.

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