Friday, September 21, 2018

Bits and Pieces

"Stuff" sprayed on Kreigh Park Grass causes concern and consternation
Last week, the town sprayed an herbicide on the grass at Kreigh Park. There were no signs posted regarding this. The spraying has been a conversation on “”.  It has been a source of conjecture, as to what it was, and of consternation, as to concerns of exposure to an unknown chemical.

We learned what the product was by submitting a request to the town constituent coordinator. The product is Kleenup Pro.  According to the Kleenup Pro “Material Safety Data Sheet”, it is “harmful if absorbed by the skin.” A major caution is that the product should be kept out of the reach of children. I assume, of course, that this also includes pets. Indeed, pets can get short-term gastrointestinal upset if they eat the grass.

Notice of the Kleenup Pro application should have been visibly posted throughout the park.

But there was no notice.

By not posting notices, the town exposed a health hazard to our children, to our pets and to all who used the park last week. And, they caused great consternation and concern among the residents.

Suggestion: Post a notice on any spraying that involves of any product that potentially could be harmful to people and our pets. Display the notice prominently. Use the word“Warning” on the notice.  Include the name of the product sprayed and the time and date of such spraying on the notice.
Dicks Sporting Goods closing deals an economic blow to Oro Valley 
National retail chain, Dick's Sporting Goods, has shuttered its Oro Valley Marketplace location. It's moving to the Tucson Mall. Other stores have left. There is plenty of vacant retail and commercial space. There are 14 empty stores, according to a report by KOLD TV's Janice Yu. One of the shoppers interviewed for this report, ponders whether the Marketplace will be a ghost town like the Foothills Mall.

According to the report, "J.J. Johnston, the director of community and economic development for the town told Tucson News Now that many of the big stores in the center will be sticking around for now, but he's working on an economic strategy to hopefully fill up some of the empty stores. He'll come up with a recommendation for mayor and council in about a month."

All of this happening at time when the town will finally be getting all of the sales tax revenue generated from the Marketplace.

Don't know to what we refer?

Then read all about the history of the Marketplace here.
Lack of state law creates mishmash of rules when it comes to cell phone use while driving
"The lack of a state law has led to a mishmash of different ordinances across jurisdictions. Tucson, Sedona and Oro Valley currently prohibit handheld cellphone use while behind the wheel. Meanwhile, Phoenix, Flagstaff and Fountain Hills only prohibit texting while driving." (Source) Otherwise, you are free to do as you wish.

This, of course, makes no sense since people drive across jurisdictions daily.

The state should enact one rule for all and invalidate all others.
ASU Representative- Hiremath is "A courageous leader"
"Every decision made by the mayor and council has been with the community they love in mind. Some of these decisions haven't been easy or popular but Mayor Hiremath knows that courageous leaders have to made tough decisions that will ultimately make Oro Valley a better place to live. Oro Valley has had a great leader in Mayor Satish Hiremath."

This introduction of Mayor Hiremath was given by a representative of ASU, a sponsor of mayor's State of the Town presentation at the El Conquistador Resort last week.

The event was sponsored by both UofA and ASU. We find it curious that someone from Phoenix, rather than someone from our local university, introduced the mayor of a Tucson-based town. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

2018 Election In Pictures: People Made Up Their Minds Early

There were 15,171 votes cast in the 2018 Oro Valley Mayoral Election. 82% of these were votes cast via mail in ballots. Apparently, people had already made up their minds long before the polls opened.

The impact of a ban on vote harvesting is clearly seen in this election. Harvesting, if it had occurred, would have been seen in the number of provisional ballots cast. In this election, provisional ballots were a mere 1% of all ballots cast.

Mayor-elect Winfield held a healthy margin of victory, regardless of which method of voting voters chose. Take a look at the results by voting mode.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Five Key Election Factors: #5 A "Straight Up" Election

This is the first posting of our analysis of the 2018 Oro Valley Mayoral Election. There will be 5 in total, one each for the 5 factors that impacted the election
Factor 5: This was a "straight-up" election
The 2018 Oro Valley election was marked with excellent voter turnout, led by an energized electorate. This election was the first since 2006 where two candidates faced-off in election without any intervening factors. It was a "straight up" election. The result: challenger and now Mayor-elect Joe Winfield garnered a whopping 59% of the vote.

The past 3 Mayoral elections (2010, 2014 and 2015) were tainted for three different reasons.
May 2010
Hiremath benefited from what we believe to have been "ballot harvesting". That is the practice of bringing batches of 'voted' mail-in ballots to the polls. It is now an illegal practice.  These ballots are counted after the election. They are provisional ballots.

Recall that Hiremath defeated Mike Zinkin by 30 votes. Hiremath won only because provisional votes, those harvested and dropped at the polling places, broke almost entirely in Hiremath's favor. Strange?Were the ballots influenced in some fashion? Something was wrong, but it never was investigated.

August 2014
Hiremath benefited from a change in the timing of the election. The election was moved from February to August, per state law. Almost 4,000 fewer votes were cast in that election than in 2010. Most independent voters never received ballots. It was a partisan election. The ratio of votes cast in Hiremaths' favor, 62%, approximately mirrored the ratio of registered republicans to democrats in Oro Valley at that time.

August 2015
Hiremath benefited from voter confusion regarding Joe Winfield's withdrawal from the Mayoral race. Winfield had graciously withdrawn to allow support to coalesce around challenger Pat Straney. He withdrew after ballots were printed. Thus, his name was on the ballot. Hiremath barely earned 50% of the 14,800 mayoral votes cast.

The 2018 election was different story
This election was the first time that Hiremath faced a single candidate at a time when "ballot harvesting" was illegal! Add to this the fact that, by 2018, Oro Valley independent voters, with the help of the county recorder and substantial social media notice, actually knew they were supposed to request ballots.  They did so. The result: Mayor-Elect Joe Winfield earned 59% of record number of more than 15,000 mayoral votes cast.
Next up
Factor 4: You can "dress-up the pig" but it is still a pig

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

State Lands Project Breeds Hot Emotions

Emotions run 'hot'
Opposition to the proposed annexation and rezoning of "State Lands" were strongly stated at the Town Of Oro Valley neighborhood meeting on the project of September 13.  Watch one resident's comments on the project.

At that meeting, Oro Valley Planner Bayer Vella told the audience that the decision on the annexation and rezoning of this property would be the responsibility of the incoming town council.  His comment met with enthusiastic approval by attendees.

On Friday, in his "State of The Town" address, Mayor Hiremath confirmed that annexation and rezoning is up to the incoming council.


Monday, September 17, 2018

Mayor Hiremath's Final Address Presents His "Legacy of Leadership"

Outgoing Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath delivered his ninth and final "State Of The Town" address on Friday. The address, held at the El Conquistador, was sponsored by the Oro Valley Chamber Of Commerce.

The mayor themed this speech to present a "Legacy of Leadership" that he believes that he brought to Oro Valley.

"I want to talk to you about the legacy of leadership we have developed here in Oro Valley and how you should expect that type of leadership from all elected officials of who holds that office." The legacy: "Leadership is about making mindful decisions, though unpopular and then being able to withstand the criticism until success is achieved." Hiremath asserted that "Most people fail [to reach their goal] because they were not determined or they did not persevere... Successful leaders find their way around the obstacles.""

A packed room awaits Mayor Hiremath's remarks
The mayor presented the state of Oro Valley in the context of this leadership legacy.  2018 accomplishments include:
  • Two July sporting events  brought approximately $400,000 in revenue to the community
  • The improvements to the sporting fields that are currently in progress at Kreigh Park
  • The upcoming ribbon cutting on a phase of construction completion of Tangerine Road
  • An upcoming "community celebration"
  • A $2 million 2018 budget surplus
  • A video created by the Oro Valley Economic Development Department that depicts a life in the typical day of someone who lives and works in Oro Valley
  • "Simple View", locating its corporate headquarters in Oro Valley
According to the Mayor, Oro Valley's financial health has been strong: "We have completed every fiscal year in the black for the past seven years." He asserted that Oro Valley has built an outstanding team of the "best and the brightest" town employees. "Council is responsible for setting direction; but it is your town staff who make it happen." He lauded the town's executive leadership team: "Together we have built a house with a very strong foundation."

As the talk closed, the Mayor spoke emotionally. He thanked his parents, who, due to his Mothers' health, could not be there. Tearfully, he spoke: "It's tough not having them here. They are the ones who instilled in me at a very young age an obligation to make my surroundings better than when I arrived. That's exactly what I've been trying to do."

Friday, September 14, 2018

Pulse Of Oro Valley (Social Media Roundup)

We monitor comments on social media that are relevant to Oro Valley. We then select the ones we feel are most interesting and timely and post them for your reading. Note that we do not divulge the name of the author for privacy reasons.

This week, the transition of leadership is a common theme of some comments.
Hope for a smooth transition
"I think all Oro Valley residents would welcome a smooth transition as the town leadership changes in Oro Valley. I’m hopeful that Mayor Hiremath will arrange multiple meetings with incoming Mayor Joe Winfield and the new council members to plan the transition and address issues. As the mayor, I assume Hiremath can also direct the town’s paid staff primarily it’s manager, police chief, zoning board, etc. to cooperate with the new team. They need to provide all requested information and town records to the newly elected leadership. This will enable the newly elected leaders to do their homework and become better informed and prepared to lead our town. "

Forging a working relationship
"Obviously, the newly elected folks will want to discuss some issues with the outgoing council members for their thoughts and perspectives on various issues. More importantly, the new team needs forge a working relationship with the 3 council members who remain. Everyone understands that current leadership is in charge until the new elected folks are sworn in and take their offices. But as elected officials and professionals it would be so very helpful to the town and its citizens if they worked together.

To me working together also means not making any decisions with long term impact to the town, particularly on major zoning issues or the fate of the golf course and the community center. The people have voted and clearly expressed their desire for something other than the existing business as usual in Oro Valley."

Triaging Priorities
"I and most citizens know the town has a over 300 employees and a substantial operating budget and is generally well run. The new council needs to triage its priorities and focus attention on the real issues and concerns that got them elected. I’m not hearing about any hot issues with our excellent first responders, the water, town staff, etc. So I doubt the new team will be looking at office supply contracts or which town rooms need to be painted or refurbished. So the future of the golf courses and community center, the zoning and land use issues and economic development need to take center stage."

Thursday, September 13, 2018

New Oro Valley Book Out: "Claiming The Desert"

Oro Valley author James Williams has penned a book about Oro Valley's history. It's titled: "Claiming The Desert." The book is available on

"Claiming The Desert"
details one hundred years of Oro Valley history, from 1865-1965.  The cost is $14.95 with all proceeds going to the Oro Valley Historical Society.

We have not read it yet. But we plan to do so.

We wonder: Does it contain a section on  Oro Valley's Catherine Reidy, Oro Valley's Rattlesnake Lady.  Watch the video about her here.

James tells us that there will be book signings in the area. We will be sure to keep you informed.

Here's the link for you to use if you want to donate to the historical society.

"Scan, Bag and Go" Comes To Oro Valley

If you don't like waiting in line at the grocery store to checkout, if you don't like to "slide and scan" your groceries at self-checkout, if you prefer to do your own bagging, then the Fry's grocery store in Rooney Ranch has something for you.

It's called: "Scan, Bag and Go." and, believe us, it's the fastest way to get in and out of the grocery store. And by the way, did we also tell you that it's fun? Did we you tell you that you can save money doing it?

The "Scan, Bag and Go" concept is so
simple that we wonder why it wasn't done long ago.

Here's how it works.

You scan each item you put in your grocery cart and you put that item in your tote. Then, when you've completed your trip, you go to the self checkout area. There, you point the little device you've been using to scan your items at a bar code just above the self-checkout screen. You press the "scan" button and your scans are downloaded to the self checkout machine. The payment process is the same as always. That's it! Essentially, you are  using your idle time while shopping to check yourself out.

You can use the self checkout unit regardless of the number of items you purchased since you've already scanned everything in and bagged everything before you got there.

The first three times you use "Scan, Bag and Go" you get five dollars off each order of $35 more.

Yes. They pay you to play with a scan device.

Now that's hard to beat.
ed note: The Rancho Vistoso Safeway removed self-checkout several years ago.