LADIES AND GENTLEMEN……..START YOUR ENGINES!!!

The date for filing nominating petitions has passed and the three incumbents have all filed for re-election.

Three challengers have also filed the necessary paperwork. They are Rhonda Pina, a Wells Fargo employee who was once the branch manager of the two Wells Fargo banks here in Oro Valley. Bill Rodman, who has served for four years on the Planning and Zoning Commission and it’s Chair the last year of his term. Steve Solomon will try again, having been appointed to fill a vacancy on the Town Council and then being defeated on his first bid for election. In this writers opinion all three appear to be a far better choice than the incumbents. None of the challengers seem to have made any public comment regarding the recent purchase of the Community Center during that dust up so it will be interesting to get their take on the future of that project.

It is rather sad that Councilman Burns made a decision to seek re-election. There were strong feelings in the community that he may withdraw from the public eye in an attempt to get his personal and professional life back on track. As you may remember, he is currently on probation (see the note at the bottom of this post 6-22-16) after being charged with violating a court order to avoid contact with his wife and two associated felonies that were committed during the same incident. Through plea agreements the felonies were reduced to misdemeanors. He recently filed a complaint with the state bar association against the Pima County prosecutor claiming that she overcharged him. That claim was dismissed however Burns has stated that he may appeal that decision.

There was also some thought that Mike Zinkin may not run as a result of his many transgressions in dealing with Town employees. The Town hired an attorney out of Phoenix to investigate the charges which cost the Town a little over $8000. The report concluded that the councilman “made at least several inappropriate comments of a sexual nature or regarding persons of Mexican origin.” This report t is dated February 2014 and is available for review by the public. More recently, more complaints were filed by two employees and the Town Council was force to take action against Councilman Zinkin. His social problems appear to be chronic.

Councilman Garner is not without his share of baggage too. He is the owner of the commentary where he referred to the OVPD as a “prima donna department” and that its members practiced “thuggary”.

And all three of the incumbents were front and center supporting the recent failed recall effort.

So the Oro Valley election season is off and running, no pun intended. We will see how things shake out.

One thing for sure, there are certainly some juicy topics out there to discuss.

Stay tuned!!!!!

Note: 6-22-16  We have received a communique via email from Mr. Burns advising he is no longer on probation. Whether that is true or not….we aren’t going to bother to confirm. The fact remains he was put on probation for his deeds and that is sufficient in our eyes to question his value as a candidate.

Tidbits

Good Morning!!

There are a couple of interesting topics to bring your way.

Just in case you haven’t noticed that ‘other blog’ has not posted anything since early January and the rumor is that it’s finished for all practical purposes as a tool for those in Oro Valley who want to spread incomplete and inaccurate information.

If you didn’t notice the letter in the Explorer submitted by our friend and periodic poster on OV Truth, Don Cox, we asked him to send us a copy. We agree with Don in his assessment of Council member Brendan Burns’ future. Mr. Burns should concentrate on his personal life and his career, which at this time both appear to be fragmented. Running for public office is not a wise move. There is a real chance that he will be defeated and opening up his ‘suitcase’ to expose his baggage isn’t worth it.

The recent articles in the Explorer about his appeal to the court on his sentence and his filing of a complaint with the AZ State Bar Association make it clear that Burns feels as though he is a victim. He is not the victim, he was the perpetrator. The victims were his wife and innocent children. And his actions certainly did not reflect well on Oro Valley.

By the way, if you have not had an opportunity to sign the nomination petitions for candidates Rhonda Pina, Bill Rodman and Steve Solomon and wish to do so send us and email at KeepOVStrong@aol.com and provide your  contact information and someone will get in touch with you to arrange a time for you to sign petitions. We have been informed that this service will be available through the month of May.

Adios for now. We wish all Moms a great Mother’s Day!!!
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Letter

I read with interest the piece in the most recent edition of the Explorer about the ongoing antics of Oro Valley Town Councilman Brendan Burns. Without knowing his history, many folks would not know how sad this recent chapter truly is. Rather than taking full responsibility for his own actions and getting on with life, Burns attempted to lash out at a member of his own profession who was simply doing her job as a prosecutor.

Some of the original charges against Councilman Burns were classified as felonies. Negotiations with the County Attorney’s office, the same folks that he has now accused of “alleged ethical violations and misconduct”, the charges against him were greatly reduced. I would consider that a tremendous break. Burns evidently doesn’t think so.

Burns has a documented record of questionable conduct that dates back to at least February 4, 2013, when five units of the Oro Valley Police Department were dispatched to the Burns residence. I won’t go into the details of that incident but suffice it to say that according to the police report it involved alcohol and prescription medications.

Brendan Burns is now considering a bid for re-election here in Oro Valley. I doubt seriously that he is disclosing his past transgressions to those signing his nominating petitions.

I don’t know Mr. Burns personally. I have never spoken directly to him. I have seen him at public events with his three beautiful children. I have had an e-mail exchange with him discussing a matter of official Town business. In that e-mail exchange he referred to me as a “bully and a coward”.

I would think that if Mr. Burns is truly attempting to rehab his personal and professional life running for public office where his complete record, both as an elected official and as a private citizen will be presented to the voters, is an example of extreme selfishness not to mention bad judgment.

Don Cox
Oro Valley

2016 Election update & TV interview CM Burns as the “Victim”.

OK, so I am tardy bringing you an update…. lot’s going on.

I suppose the primary (no pun intended) thing that is on the minds of most of our followers is who is running for Town Council this cycle. So let’s not wait any longer to start the discussion.

The seats currently held by Zinkin, Burns and Garner are up for grabs. Can there be any greater news?

All three of the incumbents have filed a statement of organization which indicates they are probably going to seek reelection. In addition Steve Solomon, Bill Rodman and Rhonda Pina have also filed statements of organization. A statement of organization is required to gather signatures and solicit donations for a campaign.

Don Bristow, Don Cox and Gregory Golden have picked up candidate handbooks but have yet to file a statement. Golden is unknown to this writer but I’ll start doing a little homework.

As for the incumbents, based on their history one would think they all belong in a recovery home of some sort. There is no intent here to disparage recovery homes and all the good they do. But consider the following:

Zinkin – His record of abuse of others is long and well established. It started with the several documented cases of “inappropriate comments of a sexual nature or regarding persons of Mexican national origin” in his early days of elected office, followed by a letter from his son to the Town Council outlining his father’s verbal abuse of the then Mrs. Zinkin and their son and daughter to the most recent complaints filed against him by Town employees (2015) which resulted in punitive action taken by the Oro Valley Town Council against Zinkin (to the extent allowed).

Garner – Believes and stated that the Oro Valley Police department, one of the most effective police departments in the United States (FBI crime stats), is a department engaged in “thuggary” and one which he believed is a “prima donna” department”. Does that sound like rational thinking?

Burns – Just within the past couple of days the following headline was posted on line:

Council member indicted on felony charges files complaint against prosecutor

It goes on to talk about the most recent antics of Councilman Brendan Burns. It seems as though Councilman Burns, previously charged with felony burglary and felony disorderly conduct as a result of entering his former wife’s domicile while under a court order to not have contact. The story goes on to say:

“He was charged with felony burglary and felony disorderly conduct.

“Our defense, we are admitting everything the prosecution says. We’re not denying anything,” Burns said. “But I am not guilty of these charges. I get to go home. That’s how overcharged this was.”

He took a plea deal that resulted in a misdemeanor trespass.

Burns admitted he committed acts of domestic violence.”

The clip of this is attached below so you can see Burns talk about the ordeal.

Now I am not to sharpest knife in the political drawer. But it seem to me that the very last thing a candidate for office would want to experience is headlines reminding the voters of previous misconduct. It also brings into question his desire to protect his family from any public embarrassment.  In any case this is just another example of unsound judgment on his part.  He is entitled to attempt to correct any wrong done to him but the timing of this action seem a bit strange.

Burns TV interview

Shortly we will ask the challengers (Pina/Rodman/Solomon) to provide us with copy that they would like to post on the TRUTH blog.

Sorry for the delay in posting but there is a lot of stuff going on right now!!!

 

 

SPRING HAS SPRUNG

Happy Spring!!!

The holiday season is over, the chill is gone (except for a couple of hours in the early morning) tomatoes are planted and it’s time for THE TRUTH to get back into the swing of things.  While it has been relatively quiet on the surface, much has been going on quietly in the background.

Surprise!!  It’s election time once again. And based on what we know it’s going to be a barn-burner……no play on names!!!  Current council members Garner and Zinkin have pulled election papers from the Town Clerk.  For those of you that may be relatively new to Oro Valley, our primary election will be conducted on August 30th and our general election (if necessary) will be on November 8th. If any candidates gets 50% + 1 votes in the primary they will be elected.  You must be registered  for those elections by August 1st and October 19th respectively. You can pick up registration papers at the Oro Valley Town Hall.

Both Tangerine and Ina are going to be experiencing major construction projects in the near future and we will try to keep you updated on that. But suffice it to say that there are going to be headaches. Cortaro and Orange Grove are going to be your east/west alternatives and both are poor choices. I-10 in both directions will be closed at Ina with traffic being routed on to the frontage roads.

We would like to hear from you on what it is you want from us and maybe how often . PLEASE drop us a response and let us know how we can best serve you. We plan on providing extensive election coverage especially the record(s)of the incumbents. But keep in mind that we will not be posting every time someone takes a breath.

Our next post will be in a day or two with info on who else is running for Town Council and what some of the current council members have been up to….or not up to as the case may be.

Zinkin reprimanded….again

Sometimes other people just say it best. The following is the Explorer Article about Mr. Zinkin’s latest reprimand.  “Wings 3” comment on the article and a great rebuttal to “Wings 3”  from “David”.
As a reminder to “Wings 3”, this is Mr. Zinkins 11th episode of this nature, i.e. offensive comments.
 
 
Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2015 1:52 pm
Zinkin reprimanded Logan Burtch-Buus, The Explorer TucsonLocalMedia.com
The Oro Valley Town Council reprimanded one of their own last week.
In accordance with a 5-1 decision by the council, Councilman Mike Zinkin will be limited in where he can be while on site at the town hall and he must issue an apology to two town employees he offended with remarks made during the Oct. 21 council meeting.
Gary M. Bridget, human resources director for the town, was required to investigate the remarks in question after a complaint was filed by Planning Manager /Planning and Zoning Administrator Bayer Vella on Oct. 22.
The complaint was filed regarding three statements made by Zinkin during a recent meeting.
“Bayer is still trying to grow a beard,” “Elisa has new people in her family,” and “…I think that put you in labor at one point, but uh, it worked,” the final statement was wade to Elisa Hamblin, senior planner for the town.
The complainant felt that it was his responsibility as supervisor to protect staff by reporting how the staff was affected,” Bridget said. “The complainant stated that he too was offended by a comment made by Zinkin that was directed toward a personal physical characteristic.” 
According to Bridget, Vella filed the complaint after speaking with Hamblin, and seeing that she was “still affected” by the comments. 
Before the discussion regarding possible action against Zinkin, Bridget gave his opinion on the matter.
“Both the legal services director and I agree,” he said, “that the comments made… by Councilmember Zinkin were not severe, as defined by the law. They do represent a pattern of repeated behavior by Zinkin. The unprofessional comments are creating a hostile work environment for our employees.” 
On Thursday, Zinkin responded to The Explorer.
“It was determined that I did not violate any laws, and did not infringe on any of the tenants of sexual harassment or a hostile work environment.  If that is the case, who are they trying to protect, and what are they protecting them from.  This was a witch hunt designed by the mayor and town manager to attempt to discredit me and assassinate my character.  If they believe that this will stop me from exposing the damage they are doing to this town as a result of the purchase of the El Con, they are wrong.” 

 WingsThree posted at 7:13 pm on Wed, Nov 25, 2015.

 Compared to remarks from the Mayor himself on occasion, it’s obvious that the witch hunt continues. Oro Valley remains divided after the recent election – this kind of nonsense does nothing toward healing our fractured community. Lastly, Mr. Vella needs to toughen up…what kind of person lodges a complaint over a harmless, offhand remark like that? The man needs to grow a set.
 
David posted at 3:43 pm on Fri, Nov 27, 2015.
 
WingsThree is wrong. This is not about a witch hunt. This is about Zinkin’s continued and ongoing comments that create a hostile work environment. This was previously corroborated by an outside legal counsel. These are the 11th formal complaints that have been filed against Zinkin by town employees. I bet WingsThree would be fired from his job if he had even half as many formal complaints against him at his job.
It’s not up to any of us to judge whether comments are harmless or just offhand. What counts is whether the person who the comments were meant for is offended. comments like those made by WingsThree (“grow a set”) have no place in any work environment.
Zinkin needs to change his behavior and stop making jokes that offend people. He has been given numerous opportunities to do so and nothing seems to change.
 
 
 
http://www.tucsonlocalmedia.com/news/article_37ee39ac-92ed-11e5-ab00-9b5a5671a408.html
 

Congratulations are in order

Belated congratulations to Mayor Hiremath and Councilmembers Hornat, Snider and Waters. We are glad this year of distraction has come to an end. Unfortunately, the divisiveness and spin on this outcome continues to produce endless rhetoric.

Are the citizens of Oro Valley that voted to keep our good Council in office going to let the group of individuals that tried so desperately to destroy OUR Town continue to tear us apart?

We can only take a short breath, and then we must prepare to do battle again.

In the meantime to all our readers have a very Happy Thanksgiving, we have much to be thankful for.

POST ELECTION POST

 

It’s  1 PM on Saturday. There was an election last Tuesday. Turnout for the County was low, but in OV of the 28,000 registered voters 14,000 voted…not bad at 50 per cent.  Don’t you think that in 2015 with all of the electronic advances we have,  Pima County could have the votes counted. This is just one more example of the ineptitude of Pima County government  under the leadership of Chuck Huckleberry.

Anyway, all of our candidates are ‘comfortably ahead’ in their races so I doubt there could be any changes to the outcome. BUT again with Pima County one never knows.

I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for voting and supporting our candidates. There was a lot of nasty rhetoric from the opposition. The fabrications, ½ truths and silly signs were unable to sway the folks.

To quote from our purpose,  “Our goal is a fair, accurate and truthful account of the facts that affect our lives in this community of excellence.”  We hope that in small way we did have a positive impact on the outcome!!

I also want to thank all of you who made phone calls, donated money, talked to your neighbors, friends and relatives about this election. You did make a difference.

We are probably going to take a little break from the action. But keep in mind we are only a few months from the beginning of the 2016 Oro Valley election cycle in which the Council seats of Mike Zinkin, Brendan Burns and Bill Garner will be contested.

That should be a ‘barn-burner’!!!

THE COYOTE RUN TRUTH

I read the following comment submitted by one of our loyal readers and felt it was important enough to be a post.

Comment:

“I want to share a comment that appears in last week’s Explorer. It is in response to a poster that goes by the name of OVrepub. Look for a letter titled, “False Accusations.” OVrepub veers from the topic of the letter to defend Didio’s account of Coyote Run. (Wondering if OVrepub is Didio’s pseudonym?) There was a great deal of research that went into preparing the Coyote Run timeline. It is worth reading.

“OVrepub has turned this into a defend Didio on Coyote Run. Let’s shed some light on who said what and when they said it.
Council meeting June 16, 2010 – Didio does not want Coyote Run diminished and urges council to find the money to augment the service. Council directs staff by a vote of 7-0 to negotiate with RTA to coordinate Coyote Run and Sun Shuttle Transit services while adopting a resolution to enhance services and fund at 2009-2010 levels.

A year passes, it is now June 2011 and the town continues to work with RTA to coordinate Coyote Run and Sun Shuttle Transit. Funding had been swept by the State that is why the Town needed to find money. The transit service needs another funding source until RTA and the Town can work out an arrangement. A motion was made by Councilmember Garner and seconded by Councilmember Gillaspie to maintain Coyote Run service as is and to direct the funding to come from the Bed Tax fund. The motion passes 6-1; Hiremath was opposed to funding Coyote Run from the bed tax fund. He did not vote to eliminate Coyote Run as has been erroneously reported by the challengers. Didio spoke again at this meeting (a year since he previously addressed council) this time he remarks that changes came all of a sudden and he did not want Coyote Run terminated.

A special meeting convened on June 29, 2011 to discuss the formation of a council work group for the examination of the Coyote Run transit system. Solomon and Waters were appointed to the sub-committee to work on the examination of Coyote Run. Motion passed 4-1 (Garner opposed, Gillaspie was not present for the vote).

Over the course of the summer of 2011, the council sub-committee worked with stakeholders. At a September 2011 council meeting Councilmember Solomon announced that the Transit subcommittee had met with the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and users regarding Coyote Run. He stated that the most promising option was to subcontract with the RTA and to have the town provide the transportation, drivers, etc.
In February 2012 a Resolution approving the Intergovernmental Agreement between the RTA and the Town of Oro Valley for circulator bus service was unanimously approved by Council. There were no dissenting votes.

Please note that nowhere in any of this timeline does it state that Steve Didio saved Coyote Run.”

And so once again, the TRUTH comes forward.

OV Community Center Spooktacular 10-30-15

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Just some picture of kids and adults (Total of almost 700 they tell me) gathering at the Community Center.  Pictures copied from Lou Waters Facebook and he has a bunch more if you would care to look.  You might even be in them or your grandchildren….

 

 

Oro Valley at a crossroads with Recall Election

Quest Opinion By Kim Folsom Oro Valley Resident,

Former Managing Editor for McGraw Hill, and reporter for three Salt Lake City newspapers

What kind of community do we want for the future of our children and grandchildren in Oro Valley? I moved to Oro Valley in 2001 from Salt Lake City where I had been a reporter and editor for 25 years with McGraw Hill magazines and three local newspapers. When I moved to Oro Valley the only business near me was Fry’s Food Store and Walgreens. Since that time, a full complement of businesses and restaurants has been developed. In 2001 Oracle Road had very little development in this area but now we have a business corridor from Rancho Vistoso to Magee Road that more than handles the needs of the community.

The growth in Oro Valley of new homes and subdivisions has also been dramatic. The Town of Oro Valley has been forward thinking to keep up with this growth and development by creating proper infrastructure to handle the needs of the residents. I believe we need facilities like the Aquatic Center and the many options Naranja Park gives our youth and those that came with the El Conquistador purchase. I may be a senior citizen and may not use these facilities myself but I do have grandchildren that do use them on a regular bases.

Recently I have been disturbed with the controversy over the purchase of the Clubhouse and recreational facilities previously run privately as El Conquistador Country Club. It was only natural for me with my previous experience as a journalist, to look into the situation and make some sense of the multitude of facts and figures being sent out to the public in campaign literature.

Issue 1: Was the purchase of El Conquistador Club House facilities and golf courses a good deal? I would have to say yes, looking at figures that were published previously in local newspapers; HSL Properties sold the Town of Oro Valley the property for the figure of $1 million dollars to be paid within a three-year period. The Country Club facilities and golf courses appraise at $3.25 million with a replacement value of $42 million if the Town of Oro Valley was trying to do this from scratch.

Issue 2: What is the true story on the taxes for upkeep and improvements of these new facilities? The only tax that was added to pay for the upkeep and development of these new facilities was a 1/2 percent sales tax increase. This tax does not apply to food, prescription purchases or gasoline. According to Mayor Hiremath, it is estimated that non-residents will pay 30 percent of these taxes. It has also been stated that the 4 percent Utility Tax was related in some way to the purchase according to campaign literature but this tax was instituted prior to the currently elected council at 2 percent and then in 2010 raised to 4 percent because of the needs of the town at that time. The net loss on golf operation for May and June was $247,275 more than what was budgeted in the 2014/2015 budget. This figure was not surprising since those months are the slowest for golf in the Tucson area and revenues should increase as the peak golf season approaches. All costs to maintain and develop these facilities will decrease over the next four years according to Mayor Hiremath as the town works to maximize the full potential of these facilities for the community. Mayor Hiremath added that the town is on a fiscal June 30 year and the opposition is bringing over expenses incurred in May and June carrying it over to this fiscal year in July. He also stated that the town actually ended up FY 14/15 with a surplus of $30,000 over projections. He also noted that the revenue sources were not applied to offset the expenses. We have a shortfall of roughly $60,000/month.

Issue 3: Are the facilities affordable for the community? Daily use fees are a real bargain considering what it cost to go to a movie now days. Oro Valley residents’ daily admission is only $14 for a family of six or less, $6 for adults, $5 seniors, $4 for youth 4-17 and children under 4 are free. This is less than a bag of popcorn at the movie and Oro Valley residents can save more by having a monthly membership. I inquired about golf rates at the pro shop and those prices are also competitive. Rates at this time of year run between $39-$49 during the day, and after 2:00 pm they go down to $29 for 9 holes. Oro Valley residents have all the advantages of country club without the high cost of a country club membership.

Issue 4: There has been much talk about transparency and the speed of the El Conquistador purchase but the facts are the Oro Valley Town Council discussed it, public comments were heard. In real estate deals of this type, time is a factor in getting the best deal.

I think it is important for voters to look the track records of all the candidates prior to voting. The current incumbents Satish Hiremath, Lou Waters, Mary Snider and Joe Hornat have maintained a balanced budget for the last four years with a surplus. This was done while insuring the success of our excellent police department, maintaining roads and developing and improving our parks and recreational facilities. The incumbents could have done a better job in showing the public the value and advantages of the purchase but do seem to have been acting in the interest of Oro Valley otherwise.

The recall opponents’ resumes do leave some questions for voters to think about. Pat Straney as part of his credentials notes his primary community involvement includes serving seven years (ongoing) as board President of Rancho Vistoso Community. Rancho Vistoso also includes the Vistoso and Stone Canyon Golf Courses, which could be a conflict of interest for him and fellow candidate Shirl Lamonna who also was involved with Rancho Vistoso’s board. Pat Straney also was concerned with the loss of taxes to Pima County because of the El Conquistador purchase but the county does not tax the other parks and facilities owned by the town so I don’t see this as an issue.

Shirl Lamonna who is working for the county supervisor should have known how to properly file a petition for the special vote on the purchase of El Conquistador but because she did not do it correctly the town clerk rejected the petition. Lamonna with others filed a lawsuit on the rejection that denied in lower court but was pushed on appeal to higher court, which rejected the petition. In the end the Town of Oro Valley had to pay out more than $50,000 in legal fees do to the lawsuit.

Steve Didio in his literature also states he wants to return the town to fiscal responsibility but he opposed the Mayor and council when they proposed to save the town $200,000 a year by discontinuing Coyote Run and partnering with the Regional Transportation Authority and its Sun Shuttle which serves five times the ridership and a much larger area.

Ryan Hartung in his video on Facebook faults the current four current town council members for voting as a block on the El Conquistador purchase but in heading the recall he has created a cohesive block of candidates that would most likely vote as a block as well because of their similar views. Mr. Hartung has led the effort to have a recall election which will cost the Town of Oro Valley more than $30,000 according to the town community relations office.

The choice for voters is not whether or not to buy El Conquistador but rather who has the best credentials for progressive and thoughtful development of our community’s infrastructure.

 

By Kim Folsom

Oro Valley Resident,

Former Managing Editor for McGraw Hill, and reporter for three Salt Lake City newspapers

 

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