Divide and conquer is a famous quote that has no attribution, but dividing and conquering is what “Councilmatic” districts is all about.  Divide the city of Oxnard into districts and allow representatives who reside within those districts to conquer and represent their district on the City Council.  Oxnard has already conveniently divided the city into seven community council districts so the same formula can be followed to create these districts.


Why do we need Councilmatic districts within Oxnard?  Well, fair representation is the main thrust.  At present four council-members who reside in exclusive north Oxnard make all the decisions for the entire city, the fifth council-member resides at the beach.  Tom Holden, should he become our next Mayor, will be closer to the heart of the city as he resides in downtown’s historic Wilson Neighborhood.  Mayor Holden , however, will not outweigh the need for Oxnard to have more fair and even representation on the council.


South Oxnard is always feeling left out.  Watch the city council on the Oxnard city TV and you will hear a parade of speakers ask the city for more attention to the “south-side”.


Watch what the city does!  River ridge has more new homes and suddenly all of Ventura Road has to be torn up to lay pipes for the affluent effluent.   Who represents all who reside south of 'Gonzo' Road when big issues like tearing up Ventura Road comes to the forefront?


Council-members from specific districts will hold specific allegiances and alliances to the people who put them there. 


The first issue is always voting and how do we select these Councilmatic Council-people?  Do we put the large slate of those running for their districts on one general election form or do we accept only votes for candidates by voting precinct?  How do we hold debates.  Mini debates in each council and allow the slate of candidates to fester and fuss in their district, or do we allow the entire slate of all the district candidates onto one giant stage and let them battle it out for their own little slice of Oxnard?  How do we pick the people who will represent us?  These individual district council people will surely be voting and making decisions about issues that affect the entire City of Oxnard.


The issue is probing and the Ventura County Star is looking into it with articles addressing the issue of councilmatic districts for Oxnard.  Oxnard is Ventura County’s largest metropolis and we need to step out and be bold in our city and in it’s government.  Districts, as a whole, is a good idea, while the concept of districts needs to be well thought out.  The Inter-Neighborhood Council Forum (INCF) is doing something about the need for input on this important issue. 


At the March 3 meeting INCF Chair, Roger Pariseau will be proposing to the neighborhood councils that the INCF appoint a committee to look into city council districts and prepare a report on it.  The report will just be a study of the issue and not a deliberative document which the Council itself would have consider and make a decision about its own future.  The Council would do well in officially accepting the report from Chairman Pariseau and look into offering the option of Councilmatic districts to those citizens who mean the most – the people who vote and care about our municipal government. 


/s/ Bill Winter