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Council to Give Retreat Another Try


Oxnard leaders may be hoping the third time's a charm today when they again try to hold an annual "team-building" City Council retreat after two aborted tries.

The retreat will be televised in response to complaints that the public was being shut out of the meetings. It will be held at the South Oxnard Center beginning at 9 a.m. and is expected to last most of the day.

The retreats have been criticized by some residents, who say the sessions allow the City Council to make important policy decisions in a place citizens are not likely to attend.

Only a handful of residents showed up for the previous tries at a retreat, both held at the River Ridge Golf Course clubhouse.

The original session was scheduled for March, but was postponed because Herrera was sick and could not attend.

Meanwhile, Mayor Manuel Lopez criticized the meetings, saying the "real decisions" were made after the press and public got bored and left.

At last month's reconvened retreat, council members Tom Holden and Andres Herrera snapped at Lopez for his remarks, which they said were politically motivated.

They asked for the retreat to be postponed again until it could be televised, so residents could see that "nothing nefarious" was taking place.

"Hopefully, televising it will show that it's nothing," Councilman Dean Maulhardt said. "It may take care of the problem some people have with it, it may not. I sure hope it does."

The price tag of the retreat rose with each cancellation. Originally expected to cost about $11,000, the total cost will now be between $14,000 and $15,000, said City Clerk Daniel Martinez. The money is needed to pay for facilitator David G. Jones and catering, he said.

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