Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Heather's Corner: This Saturday, Support Oro Valley's Inaugural Firefighters BBQ Challenge

Fire departments and fundraisers have a long history together using the funds for anything from equipment to local charities. Some departments rely heavily on keeping their operations running up to par with fundraisers and these can include pancake breakfasts, bingo, calendars (hint, hint, Golder Ranch Fire Department), and the always popular barbecues.

Though I was having trouble finding the actual history behind the origination of the first BBQ and fire departments, there are countless websites advertising fire departments and their annual "BBQ cook-offs" spanning the lengths of 65+ years. These are traditions long-steaped in the departments history.

And lucky enough for Oro Valley, Golder Ranch Fire District will host it's First Annual North Tucson Fire Fighters Challenge this Saturday, September 20th, at Steam Pump Ranch.

This will be a family event that will "place local firefighters in a head to head pit master cook-off competition in order to raise money for the local foster care and autism service communities." It will also be a platform for local child care services to meet the public and share information. There will be fun and food for everyone! For more information you can email Jose Samaniego at 3832charities@gmail.com.

Let's all try and make our first annual BBQ event as memorable as we can and hopefully someone will be writing about our 65th annual someday. And if anyone out there knows the history of how fire departments and BBQ's came to be, we'd love to hear from you.
Heather Nenadovich has lived in Oro Valley a total of five years. She has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Her husband is Canadian so she is a hockey fan by default and so are her two very clever children. When not being a mommy, she enjoys hiking in Catalina State Park, hand building pottery, and gardening. Her favorite things about living in Oro Valley are the towns recognition of art and culture, their commitment to preserving nature and the Christmas parade. (Also anything from GMG Chinese Bistro.)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mayor Hiremath: "Our House Is In Order"

"Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my honor to deliver my fifth 'State of the Town Address' as your newly reelected Mayor...I'm pleased to tell you that, in 2015, our house is in order. That is not by accident. It is by design."

Friday, an upbeat, enthusiastic Mayor Hiremath delivered this opening remark to 520 attendees at the "State Of The Town" address. The event was held at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort. The event was sponsored by the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Building relationships was Hiremath's core message.
"It has been through the deliberate building of relationships with residents, businesses, and employees, that the Town Of Oro Valley has been able to meet and exceed the community's expectations."
The Mayor told LOVE that he chose this theme because it was the next step of a plan for Oro Valley that he identified when he was elected in 2010.  Prior year theme's were:
  • The need for Oro Valley to be more business and development friendly in order to achieve financial success without the need for a property tax(2010); 
  • Encouraging the development community to invest in Oro Valley (2011);
  • Improving intergovernmental-regional cooperation (2012); and 
  • A "thank you" to Oro Valley's dedicated employees for their many accomplishments (2013)
Mayor Hiremath believes that relationships work when "... both parties contribute and both parties benefit."

"We need to hear from you," Hiremath observed so that the town can make decisions that are best for the whole community.

Mayor Hiremath asserted that citizen input is critical at the local level. Otherwise, those making decisions will have no idea of what the community wants.  "Unfortunately. there seems to be a disconnect for some of us,"  referring to the fact that there are some who are simply not engaged.

This is something which LOVE has observed.  It is an area in which we most certainly agree with the Mayor.  There is no excuse for resident apathy.   People who are willing to "gripe" should also be willing to work to remedy that gripe.  Indeed, if you don't get involved in some way in our community then you will have a community that may not reflect what you want.  Please read the guest view of Oro Valley resident Bill Adler that we posted last Monday. Bill explains what it takes to become involved and why it is so important for you to do so.

Mayor Hiremath referred to the creation of the 2015 General Plan as an area in which Oro Valley wants community input.  "Community input is critical" and there are ample ways for our citizens to get involved.  The Mayor observed, and on Friday LOVE reported, that Oro Valley was recognized for its community outreach efforts in developing this plan.

The Mayor spoke of other activities undertaken by the town to enhance citizen involvement:
  • The Town Of Oro Valley and The Oro Valley Police Department smart phone "APS" for residents to use to get information directly from the town.
  • The town gathers community groups to identify citizen needs. Such a group has been working on a Naranja Park plan.
  • A Youth advisory Council is sponsored by the town manager's department
  • The Oro Valley Police Department has a new "Coffee With A Cop" Program
"I challenge each and every resident to engage with us to strengthen the relationship."  Oro Valley will only be successful, he concluded "...if the town and the community are equally engaged."

(The town will post the video of the Mayor's remarks.  We will link to it on LOVE's right panel.)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bits and Pieces

Water Utility Commission Studying Water Rate Change For 2015

The Oro Valley Water Department is reviewing water rates for 2015.  The water utility commission will review a rate study in October. There will be a public hearing in November. Any proposed change will be presented to the town council in December.  If approved, rates will change in February.

Oro Valley Public Art Tours Are Back

Oro Valley's Economic Development department has announced that Oro Valley's public art tours are back.

The next tour is this Tuesday from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. The tour begins and ends at Oro Valley Town Hall.  You must reserve a seat if you want to go.  Seats are limited to 10 individuals. Register here.

Oro Valley Super Bowl Tonight

Like football? Tonight, Ironwood Ridge hosts CDO. "The Nighthawks (2-1) have won the last three meetings, including a 42-14 drubbing [of CDO] in 2013." (Source)  Game time is 7 PM.  Want to read more?

Caton Authorizes Funds For Cleanup

One Of Many Wash Downs Caused By Storm
Monday's monsoon "Storm of the Century" was a doozy.   Oro Valley received at least 3" of rain.  It was pounding down.

"Town staff have been out in the field every day since the storm, assessing damage, addressing safety concerns and clearing debris. Due to the large volume of storm damage, additional resources are being allocated to expedite the recovery process.

'The Storm we had on Monday hit our community very hard, and we have been in clean-up mode ever since,' commented Town Manager Greg Caton. 'Recognizing that we need to make quicker progress to clean up our streets, I have reallocated all appropriate staff resources to work on this effort, as well as funding to contract with outside resources to clear and haul debris. We ask for the patience of the community as clearing the debris will take weeks.'

In the next few days, the Town will provide additional information to the public via press releases, the Town's website and social media about specific work being performed in their neighborhoods as well as links to information on storm recovery and preparing for future events." (Town of Oro Valley Press Release)

The town has a massive cleanup challenge.  Let's hope they can get to it soon.
Oro Valley Library Power

The Oro Valley branch of the Pima County Library has 3 upcoming events.
  • September 27: Landscape Plants for Arizona: Increase Curb Appeal with Proper Planting
  • October 11: Making Masks - Fantasy and Reality!
  • October 14: Memory Power
Learn more here.
Prevent Auto Breakins Now

There have been 30 auto breakins in the past 2 weeks. Thieves go into cars that are unlocked during the night and steal whatever they can.  It is happening in communities where homes are relatively close together and where cars are easily accessible from the street.  Watch a KGUN 9 report of this.

These are crimes of opportunity.  If you don't want to have a problem:

1. Lock your car or put it in your garage
2. Do not leave anything in your car
"Save Our Kids Golf Scramble"

Mentoring Tucson's Kids
is sponsoring a golf event at "The Golf Club At Vistoso."  It is on November 7.   The event is called the "Save our Kids Golf Scramble."

"The event will be a 4-person scramble with a shotgun start at 9:00 a.m. Check-in starts at 7:30 a.m. A tasty Mexican buffet lunch will follow golf in the clubhouse. As always, there will be great prizes to be won and a lot of fun to be had by all."

Visit the links to learn more and to sign up for the scramble.

"Oro Valley Receives National Award For CitizenParticipation

Oro Valley, Arizona (September 11, 2014) - On September 4, the Town of Oro Valley received the 2014 Silver Circle Award in Citizen Participation from the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA), for the Your Voice, Our Future Public Participation Plan." (Town of Oro Valley Press Release)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Guest View-Pat Straney Provides An Election Autopsy

First of all, I want to express my deep gratitude to all of the many wonderful volunteers that came forward to support me in my campaign for mayor. I feel that my campaign was a fact-based, professional attempt to offer a viable alternative to the citizens of Oro Valley for mayoral leadership.

My campaign encountered a set of circumstances that it was unable to overcome in the time available. Three of those circumstances were:
  • State-Mandated Election Rule Changes

  • The timing of the election and the mandated ballot process had the effect of turning the Oro Valley local election into a “partisan” election format. This, in turn, had the effect of marginalizing the second largest group of registered voters in Oro Valley – The Independents. Many of them assumed that their mail-in ballots would arrive in their mail box just as usual, but that did not happen. Some found the new process too confusing to get a ballot in time to vote. This resulted in a single digit voter participation rate for Independents in the election versus an historical rate of 30 to 40%.

  • Voter Apathy
    Voter apathy is high across our country and our community. Too many voters vote in reaction to something happening that affects them personally instead of voting proactively to influence decisions and direction of their community before it happens. Fortunately, a recognition of the need to be better informed and proactive in making opinions known is growing in our community and will play out in future community discussions, town council meetings and voting.

  • Candidate Endorsements

    I made a conscious decision to NOT accept any endorsements from any groups, organizations or Political Action Committees (PACs). As a result, my campaign had considerably less funding available in comparison to incumbents. Endorsements of candidates running for office are legal, but citizens – ( although candidates already well-know) - must remember that the stated purpose of a PAC, or other special interest group, is to influence political outcomes and support the special interests of their members.

    This must change. A Mayor and a Council is elected to represent the citizens of the entire Town of Oro Valley. This election saw a very large increase in endorsements to incumbents from Developers, Land Brokers, Builders, Real Estate Associations, Professional Associations, etc. This is all a matter of public record and can be viewed by any interested citizen by accessing required candidate financial records filed with the Town Clerk’s office for this – and for previous campaigns. A review of this information may help the larger community understand where to focus their attention and to proactively influence upcoming decisions currently under consideration by the town leadership – which will highly impact the future direction of Oro Valley.
In summary, the current Oro Valley election, based on voting data and demographics, was not a mandate for the incumbents.

It is very unfortunate that Mayor Hiremath – in his response to the election results – chose to continue his established practice of attempting to marginalize any opposition to his position or views by falsely labeling those with different views as the “WHINY MINORITY”. Mr. Mayor – this group is not a minority in any sense and is actually the “AWAKENING MAJORITY” of the citizens of Oro Valley. People are beginning to seek and understand the facts behind the “headline statements” often made in public that “all is well” in Oro Valley. This may not be true when you actually listen to the community-wide MAJORITY.

I believe that Oro Valley will continue to thrive and prosper due to the influence and power of the citizens that actively care about what happens in the community.
Oro Valley Resident Pat Straney was candidate for Mayor in this year's election.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Heather's Corner: Become a Charter Member of the Oro Valley Citizens Economic Club

On a hot day in August, I passed a gentleman holding a sign and I had to stop and see what it was all about. As it turns out, his name was Charles Hanson and is relatively a new resident of Oro Valley but comes with big ideas and hopes for all of us. His purpose: to start an Oro Valley Citizens Economic Club.

Originally from Colorado, he owned a building for non-profit organizations and groups on an intersection that would forever change his life. It happened to be an intersection where protesters started to congregate in the fall of 2011 during Occupy Wall Street, a public reaction to the financial crash. He invited them to use his building as their base and place to discuss ideas. Charles, without having prior interest in what was transpiring, quickly became ignited with a passion for change and knowledge.

The purpose of the economic club, as explained by Charles, is "to give a little more political clout to local citizens. To get a group of people together who are willing to do a little work to see if by November we can accomplish something bigger." Some topics to possibly be discussed could be: Do you want to know how money is created? What is the difference between the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury? Are you confident that the banking system and monetary policies operate in ways to ensure your welfare within the global economic structure of the 21st century?

Charles would also like the group to be politically neutral. "Let's not let our political differences get in the way of our political and economic system." As he points out these are "American problems" and he welcomes ideas and discussion from any who would like to attend future meetings.

If this sounds of interest to you, you can contact Charles  at hanson111614@gmail.com; or if you're lucky enough to talk with him along the roadside, look forward to a wonderfully insightful conversation about the economic expansions and contractions of our past.

The Oro Valley Citizens Economic Club is still in its infancy and is looking for interested, passionate members. Who of us isn't passionate about their economic well-being?
Heather Nenadovich has lived in Oro Valley a total of five years. She has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Her husband is Canadian so she is a hockey fan by default and so are her two very clever children. When not being a mommy, she enjoys hiking in Catalina State Park, hand building pottery, and gardening. Her favorite things about living in Oro Valley are the towns recognition of art and culture, their commitment to preserving nature and the Christmas parade. (Also anything from GMG Chinese Bistro.)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Guest View-Bill Adler: "Citizen Involvement Is What Shapes Oro Valley's Future"

I think the the outcome of the election reflects the lack of opposition from "boots on the ground".

The rhetoric in social media - at least in Oro Valley - without being reinforced by testimony at public meetings where decisions are made and what media we have is present, results in few points of view being changed.

Oro Valley has committees formed now to revise the General Plan. Although I don't recognize all the names on the Committees, I recognize enough to also recognize the agendas that will be represented.

It is in these kinds of meetings that direction is set, attitudes are adjusted, and confidence is restored. Without involvement in the meetings under the radar: Planning and Zoning; Parks and Recreation; Water Utility; Conceptual Design Review; Historic Preservation, the general public cannot begin to understand how the process feeds up through staff and management to Council.

Just going to Council meetings is not enough, and sometimes going to all meetings doesn't seem to be enough because there are agendas at the top of Town leadership that are difficult to move.

I believe the Town needs to create more public opportunities for dialog...Town Hall meetings for example, where a couple of items are on the table and people of every persuasion can show up, speak out, and make a difference. "Council on your Corner" needs to be re introduced with more frequency. But, if offered, these opportunities need to be used, and that's often inconvenient. However, it is in there forums where "boots on the ground" can make a difference.
Bill also recommends reading David Brooks NY Times stimulating article: The Mental Virtues. In it, Brooks discusses six "cerebral values".  It is a thought provoking article.
Bill Adler is a longtime Oro Valley resident. Bill has served on many of Oro Valley's boards and commissions.  He is currently a member of Oro Valley's Board of Advisors, attends many Oro Valley board and commission meetings, and is a frequent "call to the audience" speaker at Oro Valley town council meetings.  You can post a comment here or write Bill directly at stfatha@aol.com

Friday, September 5, 2014

Bits and Pieces

Another Fast Food Restaurant For Oro Valley

Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is listed as an identified tenant in this month's Oro Valley Economic Project Status Report. It will be located near Chili's and Circus Furniture on Oracle at Steam Pump Village.  The company has 2 locations in the Tucson area.  On is located on Broadway. The other is in Marana on Orange Grove Road.

Lock Your Car 

KGUN9 reported a series of car invasions in  the middle of the night in the LaCanada and Lambert area.  The Oro Valley Police Department advises you to take you valuables out of the car and lock it. The robberies have occurred while cars have been parked in the driveway.

Oooh.. She Got This Wrong

We game across this article highlighting a University of Alabama softball player named Jordan Rocker. Her bio says she grew up in Oro Valley and went to Ironwood High.  The article quotes here as follows:
“I grew up in a nice middle class area of Tucson, but as soon as you drive down Oro Valley Blvd. you’ll see people living on the streets,” said Rocker. “I volunteered for the Boys and Girls Club of Tucson and most of the kids I dealt with didn’t know when their next meal was going to come. It killed me to see that.”
Wow. Oro Valley Blvd. Where exactly  is that?  People living on the streets in Oro Valley?  We don't think so.

Local Governments Run Amok?

A reader sent us a link to an editorial that asserts that "The Greatest Threat To Our Liberty Is Local Governments Run Amok."

Tell us what you think.