Steve Huber

I was born in Pennsylvania where I learned the value of public service.  My father was a wastewater treatment-plant operator/manager, then the director of public works, while my mother was a bookkeeper for the county.  I graduated from the Naval Academy with a degree in oceanography (physics), and served honorably for 33 years.  While in the Navy I was commanding officer of a destroyer, USS FIFE (DD 991), and commanding officer of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, a major acquisition command located at Naval Base Ventura County with over 1,800 employees and a $600 million budget.  After moving 14 times in 29 year, I chose Oxnard to start the next chapter in my life.  I was appointed to the City Planning Commission in 2011 and serve as chair of the Commission.  I have volunteered for a number boards to include:  Santa Clara High School Board, St. Johns Hospital Community Board, Channel Islands Maritime Museum Board, Military Officers Association Board, and Oxnard Ambassadors Board.  I volunteer with Boy Scout Channel Islands District in Oxnard, the Military Appreciation Committee of the Oxnard Chamber, and with SCORE as a workshop presenter teaching veterans how to start a business.  As an avid sports enthusiast, I play golf and participated in and completed the 2013 Salsa Dash and Santa to the Sea Half Marathon. 

I am the president of S H HUBER AND ASSOCIATES Inc., an Oxnard-based consulting company specializing in making good companies better through a unique blend of change management, lean six-sigma leadership, transformation leadership, and Baldrige National Quality Award techniques.

What are the major city issues of concern to you in the future?

  • Budget
  • Public safety
  • Clean up the city

What issues in the past do you feel are not being addressed?

Improve infrastructure

What are your thoughts on the state of local businesses in the city?

Oxnard is not very business-friendly.  The process to start a business in Oxnard is mired in red tape and archaic processes.  It takes too long to get permits approved and the inspection process needs to be standardized.

What are your thoughts on current public safety issues?

Our public safety departments do not have adequate manning, training or equipment.  The current workforce is being stressed to the maximum extent possible.  We need to be more innovative in our approaches to public safety.  We should take greater advantage of technology.  Oxnard is a dense city with over 200,000 residents in a relatively small area.  We have intelligent traffic management coming soon, but we do not have cameras in high-crime areas to monitor activity.  We also need to look into predictive analytics where we look at crime data and analyze trends to determine where the high crime is taking place.  Once we know where the hot spots are we can deploy cameras and officers to prevent crime from starting in the first place.  Finally, we need community partnership where residents and businesses are the eyes and ears of public safety.  I live in a neighborhood with a successful neighborhood watch program and we actively drive out criminal activities every time we observe and report suspicious events.

What are your housing concerns for the city?  How will you address them in the future?

Oxnard is an expensive city to live in.  We need more affordable housing for the younger generation who is starting out in the workforce.  We do not have enough affordable housing for these new professionals and they are moving to other cities or areas away from Oxnard for jobs and housing.     

We need better planning and smart growth in housing construction.  We need to consider allowing residential and live-work structures to be higher than three stories.

As chair of the Planning Commission, I have a proven record of working to make projects the best they can be and supporting additional housing where it makes sense to do so.

How important are the city’s natural resources to you and what are you doing about it?

Natural resources are precious and need to be protected through reuse, recycling and repurposing.  We have opportunities to incentivize our residents to recycle more by forming a partnership where residents would receive cash returns for their recycling.  We could separate the materials at the curb, allowing for efficiencies for the city and a greater return on the recycling revenues.

Discuss other concerns you have with your city and what you will do to address them. This may include water issues, the state of your city’s school districts, the city’s financial stability, unemployment, etc.

  • The Budget — Our budget process has collapsed and I disagree with the majority that everything is fine. We need leadership that can see the big picture and understand the relationship between budgets and people, infrastructure, programs and equipment.  We need a better understanding of where the money is needed by zero-basing the existing budget and building a requirements-based budget.  We need to pass a fiscal policy that includes and requires internal controls.  We need to trust our workforce to keep our books whole and in accordance with existing best practices.  Finally, we need to hire an auditor controller who is independent of the staff and works for the Council to verify we are maintaining our budgets in exceptional condition.
  • Landscape Maintenance Districts (LMD) — for the past 20 years we have allowed our maintenance district funding to stall in most of the neighborhoods, creating a deficit in the General Fund. I oppose how the Council approached this issue by ignoring the policy and avoiding making hard decisions to either increase rates or have the city maintain the general-purpose landscapes.  By not paying attention to this fund, some districts were over-assessed and some were under-assessed.   For example, the city engineer’s report for Standard Pacific (LMD#12) assessed funding levels well below what was necessary to maintain the district for OVER 20 years, resulting in $300,000 in back fees that were ultimately paid from the General Fund.  We need to determine what the most efficient means to maintain these LMDs is.  I would work with the city manager to evaluate best options for our residents.
  • City Streets — Our streets are in terrible condition despite the fact we are pouring millions into repair and resurfacing (plus the new grader). I’ve been all around the world and seen better streets in some third-world countries.  We keep sealing the streets instead of doing the right thing and actually repairing, preparing and surfacing correctly.  Also, we have not figured out how to work with utility companies who need to dig and fill for their new cabling, etc., within a year of resurfacing.  We can do better.  My plan is to prioritize streets in our budget so they get done, and done correctly.  Also, we need to publish the schedule for all to see when roads will be fixed — post the maintenance schedule on a public web page.  Finally, we need to work with the underground utility companies to forecast out five years to find out what they have planned and so that they will know what Oxnard has planned for road maintenance.  Once we form a partnership, our roads will be fixed once and maintain their integrity without digging and filling until the next scheduled maintenance period.