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By Debra Desrosiers

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is proud to name Aaron Starr and Alicia Percell as the 2019 Taxfighters of the Year. The husband-and-wife team, residents of Ventura County, organized the efforts to qualify four initiatives enhancing taxpayer protections that will appear on the November 2020 ballot in the City of Oxnard.

One of their initiatives would require all city meetings to begin no earlier than 5:00 p.m. and require staff presentations to be video-recorded and available to the public prior to the meeting. Another initiative would require the city to meet a minimum level of street maintenance and pavement condition in order for the city to continue collecting a previously voter-approved sales tax increase known as “Measure O.” A third initiative would require the chief financial officer to be elected rather than appointed by the city manager. Their fourth initiative, “permit simplicity,” would allow pre-approved individuals to self-certify building permits to expedite the building approval process.

Fighting for taxpayers is nothing new for Aaron and Alicia. Back in 2016, they successfully spearheaded Measure M, a repeal of a massive sewer rate increase, with 72 percent voter approval. Following the passage of Measure M, the City of Oxnard sued to invalidate the measure, but the superior court upheld Measure M in 2018. The City of Oxnard subsequently appealed the ruling and the case is currently on appeal.

HJTA President Jon Coupal praised Aaron and Alicia for their contributions to our state and community, saying, “HJTA wants to recognize that the voices and efforts of just one or two people can unify a whole community to fight for smart reforms and good legislation. Every individual has the power to act as a guardian for taxpayer rights.”

The Taxfighter of the Year Award is presented annually to honor an individual or group that shows exceptional dedication to protecting taxpayers. This often includes the contribution of a great deal of time, personal funds and energy. Howard Jarvis said the successful passage of Proposition 13 could be summed up in three words: “and then some.” Howard Jarvis would be proud of the unrelenting and consistent efforts Aaron and Alicia make for taxpayers…and then some.