Thursday, December 5, 2019

Pina To Seek Miller’s Pima County Supervisor Seat

Filed on December 4
We have verified that Town of Oro Valley Council Member Rhonda Pina has filed to seek Ally Miller’s seat for Pima County Supervisor. As reported earlier this week, Miller has decided to not seek another term. Miller will continue in her supervisor role until here term ends in 2020.

Pina is serving her third year on council, Her term ends next November.

Pima's election pac
Pina filed her committee as: Rhonda Pina for Supervisor. She lists her email address incorrectly by listing a web site that does not exist (rhondacpinaforsupervisor.com). The chairperson of her committee is William R Assenmacher, a foothills resident and real estate investor. The committee treasurer is Dick Johnson, who lives along the town owned La Canada course.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Guest View: Diane Peters ~ Oro Valley Thrives members make false assertions and accusations. Part 1.

My purpose in writing this article is to point out how ill-informed some members of the Green Shirts are about town issues. This is concerning because these people are disseminating false information to others in an effort to get them to sign the recall petitions.

Some members of Oro Valley Thrives (aka The Green Shirts) have posted false information on social media. Another “Green Shirt” wrote a scathing email to the mayor and council where she made numerous false accusations against Mayor Winfield and Vice-Mayor Barrett. While speaking at the podium at a recent council meeting, she admitted to (and apologized for) sending the email containing her “little tantrum.” I then submitted a public records request to view the email for myself.

I won’t publish the names of the offenders so as not to embarrass them. What’s important is what they have falsely asserted and the fact that they are representatives of Oro Valley Thrives.

Are the leaders of OV Thrives disseminating this false information to their members or are these members just making it up as they go along? Either way, it doesn’t reflect well on them.

The “little tantrum” email
Below are some of the false accusations in the email that was sent to the mayor and council regarding council discussions that took place at the October 16th meeting.

1. She accused Mayor Winfield of removing Councilmember Rodman from his role as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner. She was furious about this. She referred to Rodman as "one of the most brilliant leaders on the commission."

Fact: Rodman is not a P&Z Commissioner. He is the council liaison to the P&Z. She didn't understand the difference. Second, the mayor cannot make the liaison appointments. He can only make his suggestions for these appointments. It is then decided by a majority vote of the council.

2. After falsely accusing Mayor Winfield of removing Councilmember Rodman from P&Z, she claimed that he did this so that Winfield could stack the commission with people who would vote to close the golf courses.

Fact: P&Z Commissioners have no power to close the golf courses. P&Z is an advisory board only and the most they can do with any planning or zoning issue is to make a recommendation to the town council, but it is the town council who has the final say and they are not required to follow the recommendation of P&Z.

3. She accused Vice-Mayor Barrett of lying about Town Council Attorney Cohen’s advice to not discuss the proposed council liaison appointments in advance in order to avoid the possibility of an open meeting law violation. She tore into Barrett asserting that Barrett’s claim of Cohen giving her that advice “was outrageous” and she accused Barrett of throwing Attorney Cohen “under the bus.”

Fact: It was Mayor Winfield, not Barrett, who stated that Cohen advised him to not discuss the liaison appointments in advance of the council meeting. Additionally, Attorney Cohen confirmed that he did give that legal advice to Mayor Winfield “out of an abundance of caution.”

4. She also claimed that Mayor Winfield was “boldly calculated and disrespectful” in deciding the liaison appointments on his own. She claimed that she attended the Town Academy and that Town Manager, Mary Jacobs “precisely outlined the protocol for council and issues” and she came away from this class believing that the council liaison appointments should have been “put before the Town Manager for ultimate decision.”

Fact: Again, the mayor proposes the liaison appointments and the town council ratifies them. I doubt that Jacobs ever said that this was the Town Manager’s role. It’s more likely, given this woman’s difficulty in understanding town protocols, that she once again misunderstood the information that was presented to her.

I am seeing a pattern here of a very ill-informed person who thinks that she’s well-informed. Why is this a problem? If she is out collecting signatures for the recall or posting comments about town issues on social media, she will be disseminating false information to Oro Valley residents who might sign the recall petition based on that false information.

Councilmember Bill Rodman showed some integrity
Where are the Green Shirts getting this false information?  Could one or more of the Hiremath Holdovers (Pina-Rodman-Solomon) be feeding false stories to the them in order to poison the public against Mayor Winfield?  Despite all the false claims and accusations that she made in her "tantrum" email to the council, Councilmember Rodman was the only one of the Hiremath Holdovers who wrote back to correct her errors, stating that he wanted “to be sure that the facts are portrayed accurately.”

Councilmembers Solomon and Pina remain silent
Although Solomon responded to her, he did not correct any of her false claims.  He simply said, "I share your concerns."   Pina did not respond at all.  By not correcting her, Solomon and Pina were allowing her to believe that all of her wild assertions were true. I guess when you don’t have any valid reasons for a recall, you have to allow people to believe in falsehoods and delusions in order to drum up enough signatures to get the recall on the ballot. Shame on Solomon and Pina for being accomplices in the propagation of this nonsense.

Part 2 will be published next Wednesday.

Diane Peters has lived in Oro Valley since 2003, moving here to escape the humidity of the East Coast. She’s been involved in OV politics and development issues since 2006. In 2014, she organized a citizens group, who over a 9-month period, successfully negotiated a controversial 200-acre development project. In her past life, she worked in medical research at various University Hospitals in New England. Her interests include reading, writing, nature photography, travel, art galleries, museums, and politics.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Ally Miller Will Not Run For County Supervisor in 2020

Miller opts out
Pima County Supervisor has decided that she will not run for reelection in 2020. Miller is considered by many to be a champion of the people, fighting to root out cronyism and wasteful spending in county operations. Unfortunately, she is a voice in the wilderness.

Announcement on Facebook last evening
Miller made this announcement on Facebook last evening:

"Pay As You Go" Works for The Oro Valley Municipal Golf Community

“Pay As You Go” Policy
The Oro Valley Town Council decided in November to continue a policy the town has had in effect since the town purchased 45-holes of golf from Hiremath campaign contributor, Humberto Lopez.

The policy relates to how to fund golf course and community center (formerly the “club house”) improvements. The policy is that all improvements should be paid from the existing revenue stream. The revenue stream is 20% of Oro Valley’s sales tax revenues (a "half cent" sales tax levy) plus revenues earned from fees and memberships.

“Pay As You Go” pays for golf and community center improvements
Many, however, don’t understand this option in general or how it works.

We’ve created a one-minute primer that explains what it is and how it is being applied to pay for golf and community center improvements.


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Monday, December 2, 2019

Council Member Jones-Ivey Focusses on Recreation For All

Leading the way in supporting youth activities
In January, council member Joyce Jones-Ivey will be the council liaison to the town’s Parks and Recreation Commission. Jones-Ivey is recovering from knee surgery. As usual, however, we found her in her office in town hall, busy doing the work of the people. 

As liaison to this commission, Jones-Ivey will have the opportunity to view the creation of a master Parks and Recreation Plan, a plan that town council has directed be prepared. She is ideally suited for the job.

Passion to get recreational facilities for all
Jones-Ivey is passionate about providing the right recreational facilities for all Oro Valley residents. “Part of my fiscal responsibility is to make sure that we have funds going to recreational activities that more of our citizens use. I don’t want the people who live around the golf course to be hurt but we also have to look at the rest of our citizens to provide for their needs.”

Jones-Ivey has a feel for what the parents want... reaches out to learn more
Regarding the youth needs for example: “Those voices are still out there. I see a lot of those parents. I go
to activities where they are at. If it’s going to be activities at Kreigh Park, ‘I’m there’. ... I’m there because I want to hear from them. I want to know what they want.”

Jones-Ivey understands why most of the community is silent regarding their needs. “They are not the ones who are in the council meetings. Not the ones I’m getting emails from. I’ve asked them, several times, reach out to me. But they don’t. I can empathize with them.”

Jones-Ivey pointed out that it wasn’t that long ago when she was in their shoes.

 “They’re busy. They have families. They’re working jobs. By the time you’ve gone through that day... activities... kids with homework, you never feel you can do a ‘flashvote‘ [the town’s information online polling tool]. I can remember those days in my life. You don’t have the time.. So, I’ll just keep reaching out to them and getting them to reach out to me. Simple email will do!”

Working to get town use of Amphi School District recreational facilities
Before taking on her new assignment, Jones-Ivey continues her role as liaison to the Amphi School Disctrict. Her primary goal is on getting town access for use of Amphi school fields.

“I would like to get an intergovernmental agreement for youth sports activities. I want our youth sports activities to be able to use their fields. That’s one of my biggest goals. To date, I know that we have girls gym class going right now.”

Your help is needed
One challenge in moving this forward is getting superintendent Todd Yaegar’s attention.

 “We spoke to him about IGA’s (Intergovernmental Agreement) and he brushed it off.” She would like our help. She asks that we all turn up the heat on that. Email the Amphi Superintendant (tjaeger@amphi.com)TODD Jaeger. Tell him: We want our youth activities to use your fields after hours. A groundswell of support will most certainly help in Joyce Jones-Ivey’s quest.
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Friday, November 22, 2019

Arizona Daily Independent: "Recall Oro Valley"

Arizona Daily Independent Comic
The Arizona Daily Independent (ADI) published this "comic" last Sunday. In it, they picture Oro Valley's minority council members.

We have previously reported Council Member Solomon's participation in the attempted recall of the town's Mayor and Vice Mayor.

We have no knowledge of any participation on the part of Council Members Rodman and Pina.

Or, perhaps, the ADI is suggesting that the entire town be recalled!!
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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Council Selects “Pay As You Go” For Golf Improvements

“Pay As You Go” Option Selected
The Oro Valley Town Council decided last evening to pay for town owned golf course improvements on a “pay as a go” (“PAYg”) basis. This continues the policy the town has had in effect for paying for improvements since the town purchased 47 holes of golf in 2015.

PAYg means that improvements will be paid from the existing revenue stream less the cost of subsidizing golf. That existing revenue stream is the dedication of 20% of Oro Valley’s sales tax revenues.

Motion As Passed By Council
Click on it to enlarge
Beware of misreporting
Read and watch the KGUN9 report here. The report states that the town "...will not use city funds to pay the bill." This is wrong. The funds to pay for the refurbishments come from the 20% of the town's local sales tax revenues that are dedicated to golf.  Those are "city funds." What the council did decide was to not go into debt or to take more money from city funds.

The KVOA report focuses on the homeowners disappointment but fails to mention the substantial subsidy the town already pays for golf. They aren not victims. They are the beneficiaries of the town's generosity.

Also, KVOA misrepoted that the town was going to borrow a "chunk of money" to pay for the improvements. This is not so.

The motion, as passed, is shown in the panel at right.

Recall effort to continue
The recall effort will continue. It will continue, not because of this decision. It was going to continue anyway.
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Read Mike Zinkin's continuing analysis of the cost of town owned golf to our community in the following post.
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The Watchdog Report: Golf Revenue is Decreasing

First quarter golf revenues are down
The September 2019 financials have been posted. Despite the accolades from the Town Manager and the minority-3 council members, golf is still losing money and is now generating less revenue compared with the same time period in 2017 and 2018. First quarter revenues (July 1 through September 30) have shown:

• Through September 2017, golf revenues were $174,990
• Through September 2018, golf revenues were $219,812.
• Through September 2019, golf revenues are $168,451.

The factual numbers show that the golf revenues were $51,361 less than the prior year and $6,539 less than two years ago. If golf is doing so well, how can this happen?

In September 2019, there were 1,487 non-member rounds of golf. This compares with 1,529 rounds played at a public course within 5 miles of the El Con. Through September 30th, there were 239 various golf memberships. Troon’s goal for memberships was 319 but has been reduced to 275. If golf is doing so well, why have the membership expectations been lowered?

As an aside, the Overlook Restaurant lost $5,225, bringing the total losses through September to $35,706.

The Community Center is doing very well
As of September 30, 2019, the Town has made $8,926. Through September 2019, our sales tax subsidy is $556,520. Fiscal year 2018/19 that ended on June 30th, showed that the Town’s portion of this investment was a positive $57,747. Add to that the sales tax subsidy of $2,463,034 and you have over $2.5 million ($2,520,781).

Imagine there’s no golf
Imagine if all we had to worry about was the Community Center and not golf. With the Town support, coupled with the sales tax subsidy, we could make all the needed capital improvements to the Community Center including making it ADA compliant.

It is the golf portion of the investment that is the troll and it is this part of the investment that is dividing the Town.

In summary, golf revenues for the first quarter of this fiscal year are less than they were in 2018 and 2017. This should not surprise anybody. We have a 5-year history of this in Oro Valley.

According to the Town Manager we need to withdraw another $1.9 million from the General Fund and bond for an additional $3.2 million to provide for the needs of golf and the community center building. We cannot fund with “pay as you go” as long as we continue to maintain 36 holes of golf. This has been empirically evident by the history of the last five years.

The development scare tactic
The fear of development occurring if we don’t continue with 36 holes is a scare tactic. The HSL/Oro Valley purchase agreement states on page 5 that, “the Resort Course (Pusch Ridge) and the La Canada Course shall be deed restricted so that such courses are only used as golf courses, open space, or recreational amenities…” The Town cannot sell the property because State law mandates that any Town asset over $500,000 cannot be sold without a vote of the citizens.

18 holes won’t require additional funding
It’s true that if we decide to go with an 18-hole option (utilizing the Conquistador Course) we will lose about $900,000 in member dues and $100,000 in HOA contributions. However, this loss in revenue will be offset by the lower water needs, not to mention a reduced need for personnel, cart leases, and equipment. The water savings alone is over $400,000 and the Town currently budgets over $5 million for personnel, operations and maintenance, and equipment leases.

The Town has already withdrawn over $1.5 million from the General Fund and has bonded for energy efficiencies (a new irrigation pump on Conquistador and a new HVAC system at the Community Center). We do not need to borrow more money or withdraw more money when 18 holes can do a better job of sustaining without additional funding. If we are going to bond or borrow money from the General Fund, we should do it to pay our Public Service Retirement debt (ASPRS), or improve Steam Pump Ranch, or improve our parks, our Little League fields and our soccer fields. Let’s fulfill the needs of all our Citizens. It is not equitable to place so much focus on one particular group of citizens.
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Mike Zinkin has a Bachelor’s degree in history and government from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education from California State University, Northridge. He was a commissioned ensign in the United States Navy Reserve. He was an Air Traffic Controller for 30 years. He and his wife moved to Oro Valley in 1998. Mike served on the Oro Valley Development Review Board from 2005-2009 and the Board of Adjustment from 2011-2012. He served on the Town Council from 2012-2016 during which time he was named a Fellow for the National League of Cities University, he was a member of the National League of Cities Steering Committee for Community and Economic Development, and a member of the Arizona League of Cities Budget and Economic Development Committee.