Monday, September 12, 2016

Guest View-Don Cox: Mandate Of Historic Proportions

I doubt many, if any, of those who read this will give it much thought. And that’s part of what is wrong, in my opinion, with most of the ‘LOVEite’s’.

You lost an election two+ years ago when the Majority 4(M4) were elected because you had no vision of the future. You ran a “We Are Opposed” campaign. You then pounced on the failed referendum effort. And while the ruling made by then Town Clerk Julie Bowers, was 100% accurate and in accordance with the law, as demonstrated by the resulting rulings at three different court levels, you refused to accept it. Your position was, “We was robbed!”

Then, in a fit of anger over the ineptitude of two of your own, you gave birth to the recall. Now I have to admit that you did a very good job of disguising the truth and were far louder than the M4 supporters. But you lost that one in a close contest. What should have happened after that loss is the Minority 3 (M3) should have joined in and gotten behind the Community Center. This could have resulted in having something positive to talk about in the upcoming primary. But the continued lack of vision for the future prevailed and you kept beating the dead horse. For five months you whipped that carcass.

Then the primary election was upon us. And the signs came out. And then the tacky, childish modifying signs came out. What you forgot was that during the recall election there was a lot of dissatisfaction expressed by many residents about the “tacky signs” and the number of unreadable signs. The M3 also made a series of political fatal mistakes. They made the M4, the carcass of that dead horse, and my mailer the focal points of their campaign. They totally forgot who they were running against. They also ONCE AGAIN, expressed no vision for the future. They ran a “this is what we are against” campaign.

On August 30, 2016 you were handed the most lopsided defeat is recent Oro Valley history. You said after the recall that the 51% to 49% wasn’t a clear victory. What is your opinion of a 58% to 42% whuppin’? Hopefully that made everything clear enough.

At some point I would hope that most of you would take stock in the fact that you are on the wrong side of the vast majority of folks in this town on many issues of importance. I think that dissent is healthy and in most cases it produces a better end product. But when the end product is produced EVERYONE should get behind that product and support it. It’s good for the future. ….for all of us.

Don Cox
Oro Valley, AZ

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Guest View-John Spitler: A Special Thank You To Mike Zinkin

After the votes are counted and the doors close, we as voters get to contemplate what has taken place and if we are dissatisfied, we start to think…….. what just happened and why?

In these strange times, this is becoming the world of the “Whistle Blower”.

It takes time for the people to appreciate what the whistle blowers do for us and how they bring attention to points that effect all of us, whether we know it, or not. We have just witnessed the removal of one of our whistle blowers to that faction that would want to keep us, the town’s people of Oro Valley, under the covers.

In time, this will become clear, but for now, all we can say is Thank You Mr. Zinkin, you have served us well!

John Spitler
Oro Valley Resident

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Challengers In. Incumbents Out.

Challengers Pina, Rodman, and Solomon are in. Incumbents Garner, Zinkin and Burns are out.

This is according to preliminary results from yesterday's Oro Valley town council primary election. Each of the challengers earned more than the required threshold votes to remain in the election. Each of the incumbents did not. Therefore, a final vote in November will not needed if these results hold.

The results are preliminary because there may be a few provisional ballots and possibly some mail in ballots delivered to the polls that have not yet been tallied. In order for the result to change, however, these ballots would have to total at least 700 and all of them would have to have contain votes only for the incumbents. Even at that level, only one of the incumbents would remain on the ballot.

The numbers posted as of 5AM MST on September 2:

Candidate Votes Threshold Excess over Threshold
Pima 6794  5,648  1,146
Solomon 6706  5,648  1,058
Rodman 6105  5,648  457
Garner 4954  5,648  (694)
Zinkin 4787  5,648  (861)
Burns 4544  5,648  (1,104)
Total Votes 33890

"Threshold" is the number of votes that a candidate must achieve to remain on the ballot for November. It is calculated by taking the total number of votes tallied and dividing by 6.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Still Undecided?

So, tomorrow you vote. Are you still undecided? If so, please take some time to select and read out postings regarding this elections.

Our editors worked furiously and tirelessly this summer to bring you the real facts about the candidates. These aren't a few glossy, screaming, tasteless postcards. These postings paint a rich mosaic from which you can choose those best suited to lead Oro Valley for the next 4 years.

Please do your homework!  Enjoy!

What you need to know about the incumbents

 Why it's important to re-elect the incumbents

Who's Paying for This Election

 What you need to know about the challengers

Guest View-Mike Zinkin:

Tomorrow's election is upon us. Her are a few thoughts from me to you as you consider your vote.

My Philosophy
I believe that the Town of Oro Valley is responsible for serving the needs of its citizens. Essential services, including Public Safety, Parks and Recreation, city infrastructure and water utilities are paid for with your tax dollars.

Encouraging local business growth should be a key activity of the Oro Valley government.  Increasing business enterprises encourages employment opportunities and helps reinvest tax revenue in our community.

Oro Valley should not be in business to make money or to compete with the private sector.  The Town should not own restaurants or golf courses.  Nor should it seek to make profits in these enterprises thus limiting private sector establishments the opportunity to succeed. If re-elected, I plan to pursue opportunities to:

  • Contract the Overlook restaurant to a private entrepreneur
  • Lease the golf courses, thereby maintaining ownership and control of the land while reducing expenditures
  • Secure citizen input for public policy decisions

I am a fiscal conservative who will continue to guard your tax dollars just as I have during my past four years on Town Council.  I will separate the wants from the needs, ask questions, and demand justification for every dollar spent.  

My Work to Achieve Sensible Development
Oro Valley residents value the scenic and natural beauty of our Town, as well as the small town feel.  During the past several years, we experienced greater residential growth which caused some contention between the developers and the community.  I believe it’s vital that Council supports land use that is in harmony with our native setting and the character desired by those who live here.

I’m an independent thinker with a demonstrated ability to work with proposed developments so long as they are keeping with the Town’s General Plan. 

For example:

  • The first neighborhood meeting introducing the development of the Kai property at First and Palisades was filled with over 200 yelling and frustrated neighbors.  I coordinated a series of meetings between the property owner and the HOA leaders that continued for more than 15 months. Ultimately, a compromise was reached and the development came to the Council with the support of the neighbors and was unanimously approved by Council.
  • A Major General Plan Amendment request for the property along La Cholla - from Lambert to Naranja was met with much resistance from those living near this project.  The project required a super majority vote of council to pass (5 votes).  I facilitated meetings with the citizens and the developer that resulted in numerous restrictions that the developer was willing to accept.  Once again, the project was unanimously approved when it came before Council for a vote.

After these projects passed, I sought further input from the developer and the neighbors.  Their response was "There are things I still don't like, but I can live with it."  This is an example of compromise.  This approach to problem solving is what we need more of in Oro Valley.  If elected, I pledge to continue to work with all parties to achieve what is best for the Town – not a select few. Elected officials should represent the People.  The People desire responsible development that conforms to the General Plan.  I will continue to do my best to see that this is achieved.

My guiding principles

  • I pledge to be fiscally responsible and accountable to the people, not special interests.
  • I have not voted, nor will I vote for any tax increase.
  • I have not accepted, and will not accept money from any special interests.
  • I will continue to work with both sides to identify what is best for Oro Valley. 

My vote will always be for the constituents who I represent. 

I hope I can continue to count on your support and your vote to allow me to be your voice and continue working for you and the future of Oro Valley.
About Mike Zinkin

Mike Zinkin earned his Bachelor’s degree in history and government from the University of Arizona and earned a Secondary Education Teaching Certificate. Mike earned a Master’s degree from California State University, Northridge. Mike was a commissioned ensign in the United States Navy Reserve. For 30 years, Mike worked as an Air Traffic Controller for the FAA. After Mike retired, he and his wonderful wife moved to Oro Valley. They live on one of the Town’s golf courses and love Oro Valley. Mike is a member of the National League of Cities, serving on the Steering Committee for Community and Economic Development, and serving on the Steering Committee for Small Cities Council. Mike was named as 1 of 23 Leadership Fellows for the National League of Cities University. He is also a member of Arizona League of Cities and Towns, Budget and Community Committee. This has allowed Mike to go outside the constraints of local knowledge and network with officials throughout the nation to see how other communities have handled situations that are similar to Oro Valley’s.

Guest View-Diane Peters: Challenges Bring No Solutions To Stem Golf Course Losses

The following is article appeared in the Arizona Daily Independent earlier this month
--- In the July 15th edition of the Arizona Daily Star and the July 20th edition of The Explorer, the candidates for Oro Valley Town Council were asked how they would handle the growing losses of the Community Center and Golf Course operations.
While the incumbents (Brendan Burns, Bill Garner, and Mike Zinkin) all offered actual ideas and solutions, the challengers (Rhonda Pina, Bill Rodman, and Steve Solomon) offered no new ideas or solutions at all.

Below are quotes from the articles:

The Incumbents
Brendan Burns:

  • “Take a portion of the $2.1 million in sales tax revenue and bond for enough capital to make the improvements to the fitness portion of the community center.”
  • “Establish a sub-committee that can bring together the various interests such as the golf members, fitness members, homeowners that abut the courses, and the public.”
  • “The logical first step is to determine the savings if we close the 9-hole course. Closing the course could bring an immediate savings of approximately $500,000.”
  • “Use the land for green open space, a linear park, running trails or a host of other uses that can be developed by the sub-committee.” 
 Bill Garner:

  • “Separate the golf course and Community Center operations.”
  • “Lease out the restaurant or completely shutter it.” 
  • “I would like to see a future study session dedicated to a discussion around specifically the golf course operation…a negotiated meeting of the minds to allow all sides on this issue a seat at the table.” 
 Mike Zinkin:

  •  “First and foremost, the citizens need to be consulted on what they desire to do with that acreage.”
  • “Options could include leasing the golf course or installing a solar farm which would allow the town to raise revenue by selling energy.”
  •  “Close the golf course.” 
  • “The restaurant lost $220,000 in the first 10 months. Contract the restaurant out or close it.” 
The Challengers
Rhonda Pina:

  •  “I’d like to do whatever is possible to try to make the venues a success.”
  • “See if we can continue to keep the operations running.” 
  • “The best course of action for the golf courses is to examine all the facts and work collaboratively as a council to establish realistic solutions.” 
 Bill Rodman:

  • “Provide the oversight necessary to make sure that we’re analyzing it properly.”
  • “If at some point the expenses continue to outstrip the revenues…the golf courses can be closed, partially closed, leased or sold to a third party, and/or made open space.” 
Steve Solomon:

  • “I believe it is the Town Council’s responsibility to ensure that it will be successful.”
  • “I will work with everyone involved to improve its success.” 
Pina and Solomon’s “solutions” are nothing more than vague responses offering no solutions at all, while Rodman’s “solution” is to replicate ideas already being performed quite skillfully by the incumbents and/or offering solutions previously suggested by the incumbents over the course of the past year. One has to wonder why Pina-Rodman-Solomon are hoping to unseat Burns-Garner-Zinkin when the challengers clearly have nothing new to offer to the conversation, to the debate, or to the citizens.

Diane Peters
Oro Valley Resident

Friday, August 26, 2016

Guest View-Bristow and Lamonna: What You Should Know about Your Voice, Our Future: Update 2

This week, let’s take a look at the work of the Community Committee and the first Guiding Principle: Focus on community safety and maintain low crime.
The Community Committee was comprised of 15 residents who met six times from December 2014 to March 2015. The Community Committee spent numerous hours studying background information and reviewing, working with and revising the staff-created workbook to come up with broad community goals, policies and actions.

With Oro Valley’s reputation for being a safe town, it’s no surprise that residents want this trend to continue. The Police Department’s philosophy is to deter crime proactively using dark house programs, community policing, aggressive traffic enforcement, etc. The dark house program is particularly popular with Oro Valley’s part-time residents.

In the Community section of YVOF, there are two Goals related to safety. Goal I states: Safety during emergencies and from the threats of natural and man-made hazards, whether at home, work, or at other activities. Residents expressed a desire for establishing programs for public safety education, emergency response and emergency planning in the future. Information regarding the emergency notification process, mass evacuation routes, shelter locations and suggested food/supplies for response readiness would be beneficial to the entire community. This is timely given the security threats to our nation, including cyber security

Goal J was added by a Community Committee member during the 60-day Stakeholder Review Period as there was no goal related to the focus on community safety and maintain low crime. Goal J: A safe community with low crime, safe neighborhoods and positive relationships between law enforcement and community members.

To learn more about community safety, read the policies (page 17) which focus on Town Safety (TS). Also, review the specific Safety Action Items #52 – 63 (pages 69-70) which will fulfill the goals and policies. These include Safety Planning, Safety Education, and Safe Development. The action items include the timeframe for completing each action and which Town department has the responsibility for each policy.

Again, some will use existing resources. Others will move forward when funds become available. The community will continuously be included in conversations about funding.

Get involved with your Town. You can view or purchase the current version of the plan ($30) at the Administration Building or Community Development & Public Works Building. You can or view the plan for free at the Oro Valley Public Library or Oro Valley Community Center. To view the 2016 version of Your Voice, Our Future online go to this link.

There are 2 public hearings about the plan. Try to attend one of these meetings where you learn about it and ask questions:
  • September, 2016, 6 p.m. Planning & Zoning Commission 2nd Public Hearing, Oro Valley Town Hall Council Chambers. At this meeting, the Oro Valley Planning and Zoning Commission will adopt the new General Plan.
  • September 21, 2016, 6 p.m. Town Council Public Hearing, Oro Valley Town Hall Council Chambers
To repeat: Get involved with your Town. Read 2016 Your Voice, Our Future and be ready to vote in November. If you have questions or comments about this, please contact Town planners at

Diane Bristow
Shirl Lamonna
Oro Valley Residents

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Guest View-Phil Richardson: Stop the Tax Hemorrhage in Oro Valley

The Mayor and Council Majority of Oro Valley are running three candidates in the present mail-in ballot, in order to pack the Council with a Supermajority so they can keep wasting millions of dollars on the El Conquistador (Once Hilton) golf course, restaurant, pool and tennis courts.

The present Council Majority has already wasted over $863,000 of contingency (rainy day) funds and $2-million of new sales tax money in fiscal year 2015/2016, with restaurant losses over $265,000—with much more to come with the required capital improvements for the community center building and the golf courses. 

Why did the new owner want to divest himself of this Albatross?  (For the same reason that Hilton did: It's a black hole for money.) 

Three minority members of the Council, now running for re-election pleaded for a due-diligence audit, but Humberto S. Lopez, the owner-to-be at the time, allegedly told the Mayor that he already had two buyers and that Oro Valley better act fast. Contrary to the input from the vast majority of the citizens, the Mayor and his minions voted to purchase what can now be renamed "The Titanic."

I'm not going to mention the names of the stalking horse candidates promoted by the Mayor and Council Majority, but if you learn the facts, you'll keep Burns, Garner and Zinkin (Your Watchdogs) on the Council—or pay a terrible price—forever.

If you still have the mail-in ballot, please mark it up and mail it in ASAP.  If you do not vote by mail, go to the polls in Oro Valley on AUGUST 30 and vote for BURNS, GARNER AND ZINKIN, or prepare to pay more taxes that will be necessary to cover the runaway loses on the El Con Albatross, forever.

Oro Valley is not going to declare bankruptcy. They will just increase fees, licenses and taxes.

I don't want to say, "I told you so."

Phil Richardson

Oro Valley Resident

--- About Phil Richardson
Phil is a long time Oro Valley resident. His professional background is in media, including both publishing and radio. We "cut our teeth" on Phil's "Oro Valley Watch Dog", which preceded LOVE.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Guest View-Patti Clemente: Save Our Police and SRO

I have been a resident of Oro Valley for 14 years. My husband and I raised our two children here after retiring from law enforcement. Recently I observed political signs erected by Steve Solomon with wording “Save Our Police and SRO” [School Resource Officer]. I’m confused as to why Mr. Solomon feels it’s necessary to highlight such sentiments. I don’t believe our Oro Valley PD needs to be saved. They do a great job for our community and are respected and appreciated.

The current counsel, including the 3 members up for re-election, just voted to add an SRO to Pusch Ridge Academy as reported by the "Explorer."  I have attended various meetings through the years and have never once heard any discussion by any council member which would lead me to believe our Oro Valley Police Department was in jeopardy and needed to be “saved”.

Yes, we all know Mr. Zinkin has always questioned why the Oro Valley Police Department, the largest receiver of tax payer money, is not subject to an audit as other city agencies are, but he has never pushed to shut down our SRO’s or Police Department. This subject came up in the re-call last year when Ryan Hartung was accused, incorrectly, of being against the Oro Valley Police Department. He emphatically denied any truth to those rumors. So I have to wonder: Is Mr. Solomon jumping in with the usual allies of the Mayor initiating accusations and fear? Is he using the current events and attacks on our national law enforcement agencies as a political ploy to get elected?

Whatever his reason I am appalled he is using law enforcement as a pawn in his election bid. I am a retired Sergeant of the NYPD with 20 years’ experience, married to a retired Sergeant of the NYPD with 21 years’ experience. My brother is a retired NYPD Sergeant with 25 years and his wife is a retired 1st grade Detective. Lastly I am the proud daughter of an NYPD Lieutenant retired with 30 plus years.

Yes, I have a right to feel offended by politicians who use us for their gains and fear mongering.

Patti Clemente
Oro Valley Resident
This article was submitted directly to LOVE by Patti. It also appeared several weeks previously in the local advertising circular. We think that Patti's words provide a unique perspective on the character of those who try to use fear to sway an election.

Guest View-Diane Peters: What You Need To Know About Rhonda Pina

This is the last in a 3-part series of what voters should know about the challengers running for Oro Valley Town Council prior to casting their vote in the primary election on Tuesday, August 30th.

Pina has admitted that she wants to continue to foster growth of business. Of course she does! Look what’s in it for her. At the Sun City Candidate Forum, she stated that she is employed by Wells Fargo where she manages, “a commercial banking portfolio that includes multi-million dollar non-profit and for-profit companies.” These are her customers. This is her bread and butter. She has an incentive to keep her customers happy. Give them what they want and they will continue to seek out the services of Ms. Pina and Wells Fargo for all of their business and development needs.

Simply stated, Wells Fargo makes money off of the interest from these commercial loans. The more money that Ms. Pina makes for Wells Fargo, the more money she makes in commissions and perhaps she even gets a nice bonus at the end of the year. As such, if she is elected to council, she has a huge incentive to approve any new business or development proposals that her customers bring before council. It’s a win-win for Pina, Wells Fargo, and their commercial customers.

Pina can’t think for herself
In fact, an Oro Valley citizen called Ms. Pina and told her that it would be a conflict-of-interest for a commercial banker to be on council. The citizen then asked Rhonda how she would handle that problem if elected. Rhonda was dumbfounded and had no answer. The morally and ethically correct response would have been to say that she would recuse herself from voting on any items that present a conflict-of-interest. But Ms. Pina couldn’t even think to say that, probably because it hadn’t been scripted for her beforehand by the Majority-4.

Anyone attending the candidate forums could plainly see that Ms. Pina’s answers were scripted as she just kept repeating the same talking points…that she will solve every problem by being part of “a cohesive council” and “working in a collaborative manner.” When that response didn’t fit the conflict-of-interest question, Rhonda was stumped.

However, even if Ms. Pina recuses herself, it won’t change the outcome of the vote, it will just allow her to disown any responsibility for it. Her Majority-4 buddies plus Rodman and Solomon (if elected) can still vote to approve the commercial proposals submitted by Pina’s clients and Pina and her employer will still benefit from them but her hands will be clean.

Political Connections
But wait, there’s more! Rhonda’s husband, Raul Pina, is a civil engineer. His history includes making large campaign contributions to Pima County Supervisors. So it was quite suspicious when his company, Collins-Pina Consulting Engineers, began receiving lucrative country road contracts despite other firms being chosen by the selection panel. It was so suspicious that the FBI launched an investigation. Of course, Pima County Supervisor Chuck Huckelberry, then-supervisor Dan Eckstrom, and Rhonda’s husband Raul all denied any wrongdoing. Of note is that Huckelberry and Eckstrom have now donated to Rhonda Pina’s campaign. You scratch my back…

Raul Pina’s current company is CPE Consulting, LLC. The website advertises their experience in land development, infrastructure, pipelines, roads and bridges. If Rhonda is elected, will her husband’s firm suddenly begin receiving Oro Valley civil engineering contracts?

These are just more compelling reasons to re-elect Bill Garner, Mike Zinkin, and Brendan Burns. They are not politically-connected. There is no cronyism and no conflict-of-interest. They do not stand to gain anything personally from being on the town council. They are there to work for you. There will be no suspicious contracts awarded, and no political paybacks to wealthy special interests in return for large campaign contributions. Burns-Garner-Zinkin have always worked for the people.

Councilmember Zinkin summed it up best during his closing comments at the candidate forums: “With their special interest money and endorsements, the challengers want you to see how powerful THEY are. As the voice of the citizens, we want you to see how powerful YOU are.”

Diane Peters
Oro Valley Resident

Four Good Reasons To Not Vote For Rhonda Pina

The following is from an email sent by Oro Valley resident Chris DiSimone.
While I believe that the Mayor should not get any more zombie-like supporters on the Oro Valley town council, one candidate is especially dangerous.

Her name is Rhonda Pina and she is the favored candidate of Chuck Huckelberry and the Pima Democrat Machine.

Four Good Reasons to Stay Away from Rhonda Pina

1. Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry and Dan Eckstorm are the 2nd and 3rd donors to her campaign.
Link to campaign report.

2, From a Chris Limberis Tucson Weekly article in 2001 about Rhonda's husband:
"But alas, Raul Piña, the local manager of Collins-Piña and now the political point man for Tetra Tech, bagged another one. Piña has lavished campaign contributions on supervisors for years, particularly for his friend and supporter Raúl Grijalva, a Democrat in his fourth term. Piña regularly has fundraisers for Grijalva and Grijalva's campaign finance statements reveal not only Piña's largesse but that of a host of other Collins-Piña and now Tetra Tech big shots" Link to article 
 3. Rhonda is Ramon Valadez's appointee on the small business commission. You would think a small biz owner near South Tucson (in Ramon's district) should be the appointee, not a Wells Fargo Adviser from Oro Valley. Can't let go of the their buddies.
Link to Small Business Commission page

4. One more. She is using Saguaro Stategies, whose owner is Adam Kinsey. Adam is the former executive director of the Pima Democrat Party.
Link to July Article.

If you have any questions or comments, I encourage them. Just let me know.

Chris DeSimone
21 Year Oro Valley Resident

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