Manna From The Opposition

The voting citizens of Oro Valley were handed a gift this past week which they cannot ignore. Our residents have been recently bombarded by lies, half truths and innuendo all in attempt to recall four of the best elected representatives we have had in many years.

In a recent letter to the editor of the Explorer,  Don Bristow, defeated candidate for Town Council, stated that his trust in local government (specifically referring to Mayor Hiremath and Council members Snider,Waters and Hornat) had eroded. His reasoning was :

“ Backroom deals, withholding critical information, and ignoring the residents’ desires are not acceptable behavior for our elected officials.” (I couldn’t agree with your more, Mr. Bristow)

Ms. Diane Peters, local gadfly (according to Webster, “one who annoys others” ), stated about the aforementioned elected officials, “they destroyed our beautiful town”.

At the Town Council meeting held on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, the same Ms. Peters, spoke before the Town Council. It was mostly self aggrandizement , but she did reveal some very interesting information which cannot go unnoticed.  Ms. Peters spoke about the December 10, 2014 Town Council meeting at which a General Plan Amendment was heard. It was an amendment that had received a great deal of attention from the NIMBY/CAVE coalition (NCC). I probably don’t need to tell you that the NCC was opposed to the amendment. Go figure!!! :-)

Just as an FYI,  a major general plan amendment requires a super majority (5 of 7) to pass or deny. Only a simple majority is needed for a continuance.

At the end of the general plan hearing Councilman Zinkin offered a motion to deny the amendment. He threw up a smoke screen about the Regional Transportation Agency(RTA) not being finished with other projects and their (RTA’s) lack of reliability. He then went on to tell folks that in spite of his motion to deny he would work with them in the future to work out the issues. However if the amendment was denied, as he motioned, there would be no opportunity to work with anyone in the future. The applicant would have to start over and wait until this year to re-apply.  But Zinkin, KNEW his motion would not pass. He needed 5 votes, two of which would have to come from Hiremath, Snider, Waters or Hornat. We all know that wasn’t going to happen so his motion was disingenuous  and simply part of a pre-arranged scheme .

Mayor Hiremath then suggested that  Zinkin withdraw his motion and replace it with a motion to continue the item. That occurred and the item was continued and heard on May 6, 2015.

What Ms. Peters disclosed last Wednesday was that she had made “a deal”  with Councilmen Zinkin, Garner and Burns before the December 10, 2014, Town Council meeting. This can be heard by watching the video of that meeting on the Town web site. It begins around the 1:18 mark on the recording. They (Zinkin, Garner and Burns) were to vote to deny  the general plan amendment or  to have it continued. Since three votes can’t deny a major GP amendment a continuance was the goal. What follows is a quote of her testimony as to why the amendment did not pass:

“The reason they did not pass is because I had worked out a deal with Councilmen Zinkin, Garner and Burns to either reject the amendments or to vote for a continuance with the caveat that the applicant had to conduct further negotiations with us.”

So just to recap and to make this perfectly clear, unless Ms. Peters, is lying through her teeth (a possibility I admit),  a “back room deal” was made, before the matter had come before the Town Council for consideration,  by three sitting council members. In this case a minority (3 of 7) could not deny the plan. I believe that this “deal” between Ms. Peters and Zinkin, Garner and Burns  could well be a violation of the Arizona Open Meeting Law. At the minimum it is unseemly and a violation of their Code of Conduct.

This, my friends, is what we are dealing with in this community. A group of renegade, uninformed citizens and three sitting Councilmen who have no respect for the legislative process or their own rules.

Mr. Bristow is absolutely correct. “Backroom deals” are being made. But it isn’t Mayor Hiremath, or Council members Snider, Waters or Hornat making them.

I hope you will remember this when it comes time to vote.  I’ll remind you just to be sure.

Mold discovered at Community Center

We don’t usually do this, but when someone proposes to know so much we just can’t resist.  The following was in the Sun City Blog.

To spare you the excitement, yes mold was discovered…one square foot and remediation will be less than $1000.  See the tape of the Council Meeting of 5-6-15 and listen to Paul Kessler’s report.

From someone who knows it all and says “Trust me”…really. Note the self serving of trying to promote Sun City golf at the end as the real reason for discord.

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WOW- FYI- the guy pictured next to the Satish Hiremath is his good friend Bert Lopez – everybody else calls him Umberto Lopez. (Note: we did not  bother with the picture)

 Let me give you a brief history of the “mold situation.”
In the radio interview the Mayor had on February 26th and that I critiqued in a later guest column in the Explorer, in reference to a mold problem, the Mayor reported the following:
… there was no mold problem.
… that it was just the normal garden-variety green mold.
… a mold analysis had been requested.
At last Wednesday’s Town Council Study Session, Director of Planning and Infrastructure Paul Kessler’s response to an inquiry from Mike Zinkin regarding a possible mold problem included:
… they still did not have the results of the mold analysis
… the current owner (HSL/Bert Lopez) will not be responsible for mold mitigation
… and again that when the Town did the inspection back in December, they only saw shower/mildew mold (garden-variety green mold)
Trust me, if the mold mitigation is going to be expensive, it is BLACK MOLD!
Would you buy a property that might have black mold and take all financial responsibility for mitigating? A few years ago there was a house on SCOV that had black mold; it had to be taken down to the studs.
Regarding “Hack Golf” and the 15″ cups. One can only assume that each green will have a legal cup and the large – 15″. I’m not a golfer, but I foresee potential problems for the serious golfer. This would be a great opportunity to go after some of their members.

 

 

 

Do we post everything?

Dear Readers,

For the record, not all comments, suggestions for posts or emails we receive get posted to this blog.

Differences of opinion we do respect. What will not be posted are misleading or inaccurate statements spun to fit an opinion or position.

For example we received a comment that they had “gathered 9000 signatures” on the recall petitions. On the face of it, it is true, but spun so that the fact that it is 9000 signatures, by the same 3000 individuals signing three different petitions is ignored. The 9000 number is a clearly intended distortion for those who may not fully understand the process and just live off sound bites. The TRUTH could spin this to say that the other 24,000 registered voters in Oro Valley chose not to sign any petitions for referendum or recall! But we didn’t and we won’t.

“Warning signs of 3000 signatures for the referendum were ignored”. They were not ignored. Through no fault of the signatories or the Town, the referendum petition organizers did not follow the instructions provided to them in the handbook. Two courts have upheld this and we are still waiting for the Arizona Supreme Court as to whether they will hear this case or not.

The charge continues to be made that the purchase of the CC should have been sent to the voters by Council. The truth is, as explained by the Town Attorney, it was not legally possible to refer this item. We even provided the Statute reference to further explain this.

In fact, at least two of the M-4 Council members mentioned they wish it had gone to the voters to make their lives easier.

As long as these comments continue to be made, they will remain in the spam file.

We understand that some people do not think this purchase is a good deal. Their opinion is noted as well as the fact that numbers have been provided to dispute them. Doubt the numbers if you like.

Thanks for reading the TRUTH.

Blog Master 2

Guest Post

We received a request from one of our readers to post some information about the recall effort currently underway in Oro Valley. We encourage others to submit guest posts. They will be scrutinized for accuracy, just as thoroughly as we check other comments. After all we are all about the TRUTH!!

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Here’s what’s happening in OV

 

I wanted to start this post off with the above information. I hope you take time to read it. I copied it from the greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce newsletter.

Does it appear to you to be a community that is failing? Does it appear to be a community that has been destroyed? Does it appear to you to be a community that is void of sound leadership? Does it appear to you to be a community that is on the edge of financial ruin? Could all of this success be possible in a community that is the victim of frequent crime?

I think you will agree that what you see is a positive reflection on the staff and management of Oro Valley carrying out the policies and vision of the Town Council.

What follows are comments that I have collected from the local press and personal e-mails that I have received.

I won’t mention any names but I will tell you that all of what follows comes from folks who have doggedly supported the recall effort no going on in Oro Valley.

One person wrote a letter to the editor in the Explorer recently and when referring to Mayor Hiremath and Council Members Waters, Snider and Hornat said the following:

“How they destroyed our beautiful town”

Does the above look like the Town of Oro valley has been destroyed? Do you think the Town has been destroyed?

Another recent candidate for Oro Valley Town Council wrote is the same edition of the Explorer and referring to the same folks said:

“The trust is gone. Backroom deals, withholding critical information, and ignoring the residents’ desires are not acceptable behavior for our elected officials.  Make them face a vote of confidence by signing the recall petition.”

How does his description match the success we see above and the four individuals?

Another supporter of the recall recently posted a comment on the  Facebook page of the recall movement that said that no responsible parent would want their child to be in a community center that contained a facility that served alcoholic beverages. She went on to infer that because there was alcohol present the children would possibly be molested and who would be liable should that occur.

I suppose when you have nothing supported by truth or fact you simply make up something and put it out there. It is grossly irresponsible.

As most of you know I have been an ardent supporter of those being subjected to this ridiculous recall. And because I support them I received the following in a personal e-mail from one of the recall supporters. He wrote, referring to me:

“Once and AH, always an AH”. I trust you know what an ”AH” is.

It is a form on insecurity along with a combination of your little man syndrome and position in life.  But cheer up.  I hear the Dr Phil show is looking for cases like yours to feature on an upcoming show.  I’m sure given your past performance you will readily make it to the show.  Just think, you will be a star performer.”

Nice, huh?

My point of this post is that the folks we are dealing with in this recall effort will stop at nothing to get their point across. The truth means nothing to them. They are not good people. They want to shut this community down from an economic standpoint and from a population stand point.

As the next few months pass you will be seeing more and more accurate information coming out about the recall and the tremendous 6 year track record of the four incumbents subjected to this recall effort. And if and when we have an election down the road I urge you and ask you to simply repeat what we did in the last election.

Don Cox

 

 

Jack Evert, Sun City resident declares war!

In the 4/29/15 edition of the Explorer,

Jack Evert, a Sun City resident active in the recall effort, said he finds recalls divisive, but he felt citizens had no other recourse.

“I wanted a referendum,” he said. “I was very supportive of a referendum.” If the purchase had gone to a vote and been affirmed, he would have accepted it because at least town residents had spoken.

But after the referendum petition was tossed, he was angry. He said he thought, “This is war.”

So Mr. Evert thinks the only recourse to not getting a referendum was a recall. Well you didn’t get a referendum Mr. Evert because the organizers had to follow explicit, very exacting rules. Rules that they failed to follow, rules that were disputed as they felt they did not have to follow the rules. And when the rules were upheld by the first court, and again by an appeals court “the rules” turned into a Constitutional matter and went to the Arizona Supreme Court. The M-4’s didn’t toss the petitions and they didn’t make up the rules.

One more time – The Council could not send the question as to purchasing the El Conquistador Country Club to a vote of the people because BY LAW, meaning under Arizona Statutes (rules), this matter could not be sent to the people. (Listen to 12/17/14 Regular Town Council Meeting, question was asked by CM Garner via telephone.)

Jack and the others involved in the recall effort want the M-4’s to play by their rules, but when the referendum organizers can’t play by the rules, they declare war. Plus they make up their own rules of engagement by spewing deceit and misleading information. They want it their way and only their way.

http://tucsonlocalmedia.com/news/article_c89ec3ec-eddc-11e4-a14f-bb291f1efc2d.html

A Hotel versus a Community Center?

One of our readers pointed out a posting on another blog suggesting there is somehow an interesting parallel to be seen between the Sheraton in Phoenix losing money over the last several years and the purchase of the El Con Country Club for a Community Center.

We don’t see the sense of a comparison but in doing some digging, we found it interesting that Councilmember Bill Garner* asked the Town Manager if in doing his due diligence, had he considered making an offer for the hotel and resort, as that is where the money is and would give Oro Valley the opportunity to put its name on a hotel/convention center for our signature events. Garner felt OV was getting the “crumbs of the pot.” It was pointed out to Garner, that while not uncommon for municipalities to own hotels it was not an opportunity that was given consideration. However, the Town Manager said he would pursue at the direction of Council. It was unlikely to enter into discussions since there was already an offer from a buyer and conversations could not occur unless that deal fell through. Mayor Hiremath stated that for those that may not have known, the Phoenix Sheraton is probably the only municipally owned hotel in the state and believes Phoenix is losing somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 million dollars.

So what do you think, should the town have made an offer to buy the Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort? The hotel sold for $15 million, A $16 mil rehabilitation and capital improvement project is planned, CM Garner thinks this was a good idea. Your thoughts.

*December 4, 2014 Regular Town Council Meeting

Subject: YES, the Majority 4 care about our youth

More often than you might believe, we get letters that have been sent to the Explorer and for some “reason” they just aren’t printed. The following is one of them and is in response to a letter that did get published.

 

Mr. Kavvouras has not been paying attention! The Majority 4 have done more for Oro Valley youth than any Town Council in Oro Valley’s history.

What wonderful programs do we have for Oro Valley youth?

-Project Graduation was brought to Oro Valley by Mary Snider in 2004. This program has protected 10,000 + teenage lives and is supported yearly by the Police and the Majority 4.

-Youth Advisory Council (YAC) comprised of thirty high school students from four Oro Valley High Schools. YAC was formed in 2012 and meets monthly to give a voice to our youth.

-Dive in movie nights at the Oro Valley Aquatic Center sponsored by YAC. Last Saturday of the month from June – September 7:30 – 10:00 P.M. Open to all O.V teenagers. Free use of pool, movie and pizza.

-Free Field Day sponsored by YAC open to all O.V. teenagers April 11, 2015 5-8 p.m.

-YAC youth liaison to Town Council to keep teens informed about what is going on in town government.

-For the first time the General Plan Committees have teenagers from the Youth Advisory Council giving input as to what youth want and need in O.V.

-The Holiday Parade

-Children’s room at the Library.

-The new Children’s Museum opening May 1, 2015.

-Settler’s Day Festival at Steam Pump Ranch.

-Arizona Distance Classic for Kids.

-Basketball, volleyball, soccer at Riverfront Park.

-Archery, Lacrosse and soccer at Naranja Park.

-Baseball field, playgrounds, volleyball at James Kreigh Park.

-Hiking and biking trails.

-The police department has School Resource Officers (SRO’s) in our schools protecting our children. The police participate in Shop with a Cop, National Night Out, Safe Treats, public school safety talks, free child car seat checks, and drug awareness day.

-Explorer Program – training tomorrow’s police officers today. Four of our current O.V. police officers are former OVPD Explorer Cadets.

-5 million dollar addition to the Aquatic Center – Olympic pool, diving boards, interactive splash pad, giant water slide, recreation pool, classrooms for parties, Junior Lifeguard camps, Scuba Rangers camp, world’s largest swim lesson, Splash and Dash Aqualon.

local weekly summer swim meets, home to six youth swim teams, and 4 out of town youth swim teams, and state and national competitions.

-The El Conquistador Community Center will be for EVERYONE. Since when are kids not interested in swimming, tennis, weight lifting, summer camps, hack golf, basketball and food?

The Parks and Rec department is hard at work to make our community center a gathering place for ALL.

Does the majority 4 care about Oro Valley youth? Oh yes, George, they do! And hang on to your hat it’s only going to get better!

Marty Waters

 

Why Sales Tax?

The following Post is at the request of the Mayor of OV

To the readers of the TRUTH:

This is a continuation of a series of posts that I will be submitting for the TRUTH so that you have the facts. The revenue source that was chosen to fund the improvements of the El Conquistador Country Club with all of its amenities by not only me, but Lou Waters, Mary Snider and Joe Hornat was chosen by design and here’s why.

There are five revenue sources available to our Town and they are: 1) Property tax, 2) Commercial Lease tax, 3) Utility tax, 4) Renters tax and, 5) Sales tax. Let’s take a look at each one….

Property Tax

Currently, the Town of Oro Valley does not have a property tax. The tax we pay is a county tax. There is a push by some council members to have a discussion of a property tax and take it to the voters to let them decide whether a property tax is warranted or not. This avenue was not chosen as a financing mechanism because the town of Oro Valley was founded on no property tax and more importantly, in both the 2010 election and 2014 election, the residents were adamant about not having a property tax. Lou, Joe, Mary and I chose not to support this suggestion out of respect of the wishes of our residents. We were elected on the platform that we would not institute a Property tax unless it was absolutely necessary. 100% of the burden would fall on the shoulders of the residents and we felt it would be very unfair in these tough economic times. Also, because of our out of the box thinking and vision, it is not necessary to institute a property tax at this time.

Commercial Lease Tax

This option was not chosen because it would place an undue burden on the businesses of our Town. Roughly 1/2 of our general fund comes from sales tax and is used to provide such things as public safety, roads, parks and recreation. It is imperative that the burden not be placed solely on businesses in our Town, especially in these tough economic times. We should be doing everything in our power to make sure that our businesses are successful. Mary, Lou, Joe and I feel that if business is successful, then the Town will be successful.

Utility Tax

Increasing the Utility tax was not chosen by Joe, Lou, Mary and I because again, like the property tax venue, 100% of the burden would be carried by Oro Valley residents and business owners alike.

 Renter’s tax

There is a push by some council members to enact a Renter’s tax. Joe, Mary, Lou and I disagree with this approach because a small segment of the population would have to shoulder a very large burden. Other council members like this tax because they feel that renters are a different class of residents and they don’t really consider them true Oro Valley residents. I disagree with their assessment because I was myself, at one point in my life, an apartment dweller. In my opinion, this would be a very unfair tax.

Sales Tax

I, along with Lou, Mary, Joe, chose this venue because currently, roughly 1/3rd of the sales tax revenue comes from a visitor. What this means is that 100% of the burden does not fall on the shoulders of Oro Valley residents. The half-cent increase we approved will be dedicated specifically to improvements of the Community Center (El Conquistador Country Club and its amenities). It is estimated that a half-cent increase will lead to collections of $2 million. Since 2/3rds of this will be paid by Oro Valley residents, we are looking at an estimation of $1.3 million. Dividing $1.3 million by the approximately 18,500 households in Oro Valley and divide by 12—the result is $5.85 per household per month. What is important to keep in mind is that the half-cent increase does not apply to fuel or non prepared food.

Yes it is true that there is no sunset clause. This was also done by design. Most elected officials get into trouble because when it comes time for the sunset to occur, something invariably happens. Either they have to go back on their word and not let the sunset occur or they have to find ways to cut services because the economy is not performing like they had hoped. We four on Council were very upfront about not having a sunset clause attached to the half-cent increase. In my opinion, this is transparency at its finest.

As you can see, under the leadership of me as your Mayor, Lou Waters as your Vice-Mayor and Mary Snider and Joe Hornat as your council members, everything is done with a certain vision and deliberation in mind. Nothing is done by accident or dumb luck. We four are creating an environment where our residents can truly, live, work and play in our beautiful community while the revenue needed for the exceptional services provided by the Town of Oro Valley staff is contributed by visitors to our community. And now you know the TRUTH!

Respectfully,

Mayor Satish I. Hiremath

Sunday Potpourri

Good Sunday Morning.

For those of us who follow the Wildcat basketball team, we are in mourning this morning. But it was a great season and in all honesty the better team won yesterday.

Another of our activities is following that ‘other’ blog in Oro Valley. While it may not be that pleasant, it does keep us informed of how far out there the ‘fumbling few’ really are.  They recently posted a story about the police department and the low crime rate here in Oro Valley which contained a quote from the Mayor.  I  happened to mention it to Mayor Hiremeth and he said that they only published a small part of his comment.  I then asked him to send the entire text to us and it appears below. As usual the ‘other blog’ only wants part of the truth to see the light of day. Our goal is to provide you with the entire picture.

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The Oro Valley Police Department continues to provide quality service to the residents, businesses and visitors in the Town.  The voter approved General Plan calls for Community Policing as our guide for the provision of police service, and we are fortunate that Chief Sharp, along with his department’s leadership, has a solid grasp of those principles necessary to carry out that mission.  The relationship between the police department and the town’s residents is key to assuring we keep Oro Valley a safe community.

As crime trends evolve, this proactive approach from OVPD is key to assuring we maintain our quality of life in Oro Valley.  I am committed to ensuring that the Police Department has the resources and flexibility to address any and all issues that threaten our safety and security.  The reason the OVPD is as effective as they are is due to the combined efforts of a number of areas moving in the same direction.  There are some people that believe there can and should be cuts made to individual line items in the police department budget that will not have an impact on the overall effectiveness of the department.  This is absurd.  The overall system works because each part plays a crucial role as related to the outcome.  They have no clue as to how the system works.  They think you can somehow diminish one aspect without having an impact on the rest of the system.   I am not interested in trying to cut service, only to find one or more of our residents become victim, just because someone thinks we can save some money in our budget.  I rely on the expertise of the Chief of Police and his staff to let us know what is necessary to provide service, and I trust them to carry out their mission.   Chief Sharp is the expert in the field and, while it may appear to some he has a blank check, I can assure you he does not.  Simple math will show you that he doesn’t.  The OVPD budget for fiscal year 14/15 is approximately 14.9 million dollars.  If we divide that number by Oro Valley’s resident population of 43,193 (PAG estimate for July 1, 2013), it comes out to a total of $344.96 per resident for the exceptional public safety offered by Chief Sharp and his staff.  This begs the question, “How much do people want to save?”  As an example, for every $100,000 someone wants to save, it equates to $2.32 per resident saved.  So even if someone wants to save $1,000,000, that will only reduce the total to $321.81 per resident vs. $344.96 per resident.  The cost saved is $23.15 per resident, per year, or in other words, a savings of 6 cents a day.  Would you rather save 6 cents a day or possibly become a victim of a crime?  Keep in mind any reduction equates to less service and diminished safety.

Some people who commit crimes are aware of budget season in municipalities in hopes that public safety monies will get cut, because they know this will lead to less police officers being able to respond to lower level crimes such as burglaries.  In turn this will lead them to an easier time becoming more effective.  I have always said the thought process of an elected official should never be whether they can save a nickel or not.  The thought process should be how wisely they spend that nickel.  Here in the town of Oro Valley, the general public expects elected officials will keep them safe at a reasonable cost.  I believe for a mere $344.96 per year, per resident is very reasonable indeed.  Our Chief, Danny Sharp, has been tasked with an immense responsibility of keeping Oro Valley’s residents and non-residents safe.  That is a very heavy burden.  The proven track record of the Oro Valley Police Department makes them a model other communities follow, and I am very pleased with the service they provide.  I am proud to be the Mayor of a town with such low crime statistics!

More misinformation exposed!!

 

We received the following as an email from OVBill and thought it deserved a post to show that most people do get it and some people want to continue their tirade without acknowledging or knowing the facts…especially when the facts do not support their position.

Thanks OV Bill for calling out Mr. Richardson!!

 

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From OV Bill

So, this is what one recall supporter, Phil Richardson, has resorted to doing. When facts do not add up to support a recall…just make them up!!!

Mr. Richardson has crafted his own set of “facts” and is emailing them to his neighbors (see below a copy of his email).

Mr. Richardson, you are factually incorrect. The council did not “block” a citizens referendum.

The two individuals who attempted to bring a referendum to fruition bungled the job.

State law PROHIBITS councils from initiating a vote in these types of matters because it is the JOB of our elected officials to make these decisions in a community’s best interest. Even if the council wanted to put it to a vote, they are legally precluded from doing so.

I am curious what the term “NO VOTE FOUR” means since they voted yes. If you are implying that there was actually a vote to NOT send the question to the voters, then once again you are wrong and apparently intentionally misleading your neighbors. You should at least provide the facts, but they don’t really support a recall, now do they?

+++++++++++

Richardson email follows.

Sat, Mar 28, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Oracle and Suffolk entrance to Suffolk Hills

Oro Valley voters. Stop and sign the petition to force a recall election of the Mayor and 3 council members who blocked a citizens referendum on the multi-million dollar tax burden of buying, renovating and running this huge money-loser. IF THE WILDCATS PLAY A DAYTIME GAME – WE’LL BE SURE TO BE NEAR THE ENTRANCE OF SUFFOLK HILLS BEFORE AND AFTER.

STOP AND SIGN TO PREVENT A TAX BLACK HOLE CAUSED BY THE “NO VOTE FOUR.”

Posted by Phil Richardson

1d ago to Suffolk Hills + 12 neighborhoods ·