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Greater Oxnard Organization of Democrats President Steven Auclair. (Photo by Chris Frost)
Monday, January 27, 2020

By Chris Frost


Oxnard-- The GOOD (Greater Oxnard Organization of Democrats) story continues with Jonathan Abboud talking about having tuition-free college and trade school in California.


He told the crowd that California had this benefit, and the state can do it again.


Abboud is running for the State Assembly.


He also declared climate change a threat to the future of the planet, and many people have given up on having kids because they don't want those children to grow up where the earth isn't habitable.


"Santa Barbara and Ventura had the most global warming in the entire United States," he said. "Ground zero for climate change is the 37th Assembly District. We're going to need to do a California Green New Deal. The Green New Deal is the type of big mobilization we need to inject some economic mobility into our communities with big public works projects."


He met with a city council member in Filmore and asked where there isn't a light rail that goes through Filmore to Santa Paula, up through Ventura and then into Santa Barbara?


"Then we can get some cars off the road," he said. "Transportation accounts for 42 percent of California's transportation emissions. We need to get out of our cars, work, and live in the same community. We also need to work and live in other communities connected by public transportation."  


The state also needs to invest in affordable housing, instead of market-rate housing, he said, and a clean water system.


"Market-rate housing is the communities that are usually built because private developers get their way," he said. "Can anyone here afford a $5,000 a month apartment? I don't think so. I'm paying $2,000 a month, and that's most of my income.  We can't allow that to continue. That's the main cause of homelessness. In Los Angeles County, 65 percent of homeless people used to be renters. They were forced out of their homes. I'm sure it's the same situation in Oxnard, Ventura, and Santa Barbara and all over the central coast."


Abboud also wants to see publically-financed elections.


"We can't continue to fund a system where $4,700 checks are how you fund a state assembly campaign," he said. "It's not sustainable. I've been fortunate to raise $85,000 in this race, and you've got to get to $200,000. I'm doing by calling my network of people I've worked with over the last 10 years across the state that I have been good allies with. It's working, but if we had a matching system like San Francisco or Los Angeles, I would be able to finish with the fundraising a just talk to the voters. "


He thinks that's a winning plan for all politicians.


"We should have six times as much time to talk to voters, rather than raising money," he said."I support moving to a publically-financed election system, where we don't have to worry about which donors we are going to call tomorrow morning. I should be focusing on which voters I am going to be talking to tomorrow morning."


During questions and answers, Sergio Solis commented that Amazon plans to open an office in Santa Barbara.


"How do you plan to protect big technology-based companies from taking over housing from residents," he asked. 


Abboud believes in people before corporations.


"Amazon is not paying anything extra to be here," he said. "They're not reinvesting into our community. If a corporation that big is coming into our city, we need to force them into building the housing they need. They are going to be paying high salaries from people out of the area to come in and displace our families. We can't completely ban them, but what we can do is make it difficult for them to come in, and if they do come in, they have to benefit the community tangibly with community input. Those benefit agreements need to be negotiated by the city council, with the people's input."


Regarding homelessness, Abboud said Governor Newsome must realize there is more to California than San Francisco and Los Angeles. 


"A lot of policy in California is driven around those two major cities," he said. "As an assembly member, I'm going to work with a coalition and the other members that don't get as much attention in Sacramento. There are more of us in the aggregate than there are in Los Angeles and San Francisco."


Santa Barbara Mayor and District 37 Assembly Candidate Cathy Murillo said she is a progressive leader who will bring Democratic values to Sacramento.


"My platform is to improve public education, protect our natural resources, create economic opportunity, and improve the quality of life for all Californians," she said. "Quality of life includes protecting public safety and health, taking care of our public libraries, building housing in all the right places. I like the SOAR initiative (Save our Open Spece and Agricultural Resources) because it says to put them in the already urbanized areas."


She stays focused on the environment.


"We banned single-use plastic bags, straws, and styrofoam, which harm our marine environment," she said about her eb=nvironmental record. "We're also Bee City USA. Those are the types of environmental goals I would take to Sacramento."


She told the crowd her father was a gang member and a drug dealer, and she works in gang prevention, and they can do something else with their lives. She taught dramatic arts to public school kids in Santa Barbara.


Murillo stands for a sharp First Five and a healthy preschool, plus K-12.


"We have to make sure that special education kids are taken care of, and there is a pathway to college," she said. "I would like to increase enrollment at UC (University of California) and Cal State University. They can make positive choices and not make the same mistakes their parent's made. That's all dramatic, but it's not like Scarface. When your dad is in prison, your mom and grandma raise you. I pay homage to my grandmother, who unionized her shop."


She has a strong labor endorsement.


"I put a project a labor policy in place in the City of Santa Barbara," she said. "With public works and construction projects over $5 million, we have to give preference to unionized construction workers," she said. 


If elected, Murillo plans to make sure that every child is ready to go to school.


"That means a strong "First Five" program, plus a strong preschool and K-12," she said. "We have to make sure that special ed students are taken care of, and there is a pathway to college."


She also wants to increase enrollment at UC and Cal State University. 


"At the same time, I want to increase scholarships to people who need them, middle-class scholarships," she said. 


Murillo advocates removing the oil and gas infrastructure at Ormond Beach.


"It's a huge agricultural community," she said about Oxnard. "I'm running for Sacramento to protect the farmworkers. That means a whole lot to me. Today, I got the endorsement of farmworker labor leader Dolores Huerta, and I am proud to have her endorsement. I will work with her, and the farmworkers union to find ways to protect our farmworkers. I appreciate what the county is doing with that resource program."


Additionally, she feels that agriculture will be part of the climate change solution. 


"What the state can do is incentivize carbon farming and carbon sequestration," she said. "This is an agricultural community, and we need to support agriculture. Tourism is big in Santa Barbara. We need to support tourism and make sure our area stays beautiful, and our waterfronts are beautiful, and our harbors area functioning, so we get people to come here, enjoy, and spend their money."


She also wants to improve childcare opportunities when she goes to Sacramento, along with mental health services for those who are homeless.


"What I offer that is different from my opponent is executive and leadership experience," she said. "I am the mayor of a full-service charter city in the State of California. I've made budget and policy decisions related to running an airport. We have a harbor; we provide drinking water, collect and clean sewage; we have a desalination plant, and we have our own fire and police department."


Up until 2019, Murillo said the City of Santa Barbara ran the county-wide library system. 


"I've been the mayor through drought, wildfire, and debris flow when people died on our streets," she said. "I am a strong and courageous leader, and I would do that in Sacramento."


She also fought the gang injunction and advocates finding solutions for young people who make mistakes.


"Santa Barbara has passed a tenants rights package and a just cause eviction ordinance," she said. "I work with the Mexican consulate, and we put on know your rights workshops for undocumented families and try to protect them from the White House."


She also offers internships, and she helps them get elected to public office.


"An endorsement for me would be betting on a fast-running horse," I'd love your endorsement and would love to serve your community."