Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Heather's Corner: You Won Believe What Oro Valley's Got Going On

I'm sure many of you are familiar with the Great American Playhouse.  If you aren't or if you haven't yet experienced it for yourself, have I got a treat for you.

Located at 13005 N. Oracle Rd., in what once was a grocery store, lies what I have found to be this far, Oro Valley's most enjoyable hidden gem. Once greeted at the door you are brought inside a creative, and surprisingly very talented, world of live theatre acts, pianist extraordinaire, and a encore second act variety show called, "The Olio," that combines wit, humor, and audience participation.  Did I mention they offer a generous menu with time honored favorites like pizza, meatball subs, and ice cream? You can sip on a cool glass of beer too all whilst being in the presence of a "family-oriented" entertainment and all age appropriate show. Are you sold?!

My family and I attended a Saturday afternoon show a few weeks back. We were astounded that we hadn't stumbled upon it before. We brought with us two four year olds who enjoyed the sing-a-longs, wild costumes, and props while the adults shared laughs in humor you can only appreciate with age on your side.

It was a good time to be had by all. The four year olds are still talking about it to this day. And as I previously mentioned their talented cast, the musical director/pianist, Mike Padilla, has played musically in various settings, most notably in San Francisco's Top of the Mark and The Fairmount Hotel. Hubba, bubba!

The shows change every few months or so, which give you an opportunity to enjoy the same show or experience a new one. Currently they are performing "Quest of the Caveman," which promises to be a delight for the young and young at heart. So grab the family and settle in for a delightful afternoon or evening of fun and entertainment. But if all else fails and you are one of those naysayers who can't fathom the idea of a one stop shop variety show the whole family will enjoy, you can always just fill up on the bottomless free popcorn they serve. Either way, it's a win-win.
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, April 14, 2014

John's Place: Oro Valley Plans To Add Little To The Contingency Fund

At the April 2, 2014 Town Council Meeting The Town Manager's Recommended Budget for fiscal year 2014/15 in the amount of $107. 1 million; a $13.2 million, or 14.1% increase from the Adopted FY 2013/14 Budget totaling $93.9 million was presented.

The budget has received no citizen input.  There is, for example, no Oro Valley Finance and Bond Committee to review the budget.  There was no citizen input allowed at the April 2, 2014 council presentation or a subsequent budget study session held on April 9, 2014.  It is, therefore, the job of each Council Member to represent the citizens.

This budget is being presented as 'balanced' or 'provides a surplus.'  Yes. The budget is that. However, it is also a 14% increase over prior year, a fact that only LOVE has reported.

Why is a 14% increase problem?  It is a problem because the increase is based on a robust set of increased revenue projections. The assumption is that the economy will be robust.  The expectation is that construction fees will be robust.

We've been through the "boon-bust" cycle countless times.  We know that: "What comes up, must go down."  We also know that it is extraordinarily painful for the public sector to reduce spending.  It is, after all, not their money. It is your money.

Oro Valley's method of budgeting does not challenge each expenditure. Rather, it adds an increase each year.  It challenges only the increase, not the baseline spend.  Thus, a budget once set becomes the baseline for the future.  In essence, the 14% increase becomes a permanent cost to the citizens of Oro Valley.

It is the boom-bust cycle that requires fiscally responsible individuals, company's and public sector operations to build surpluses.  Oro Valley calls these surpluses a "contingency fund." In Oro Valley, it is build from general fund revenues.

Most of our citizens are not aware of Oro Valley's "contingency fund".   Oro Valley's councils have set a minimum 25% ratio between the operating fund expenditures and the contingency fund balance.

The contingency fund is a buffer for unexpected financial problems. It is also a means to set aside funds for specifically designated future projects.  It is like an individual's savings account.

A contingency fund is also used to manage risk.   In the public sector, there are two such risks. One, is the risk of a shortfall in revenues. The other is the risk of unexpected events.  For example, it is often used for risk management when an exceptional risk that, though unlikely, would have disruptive or catastrophic consequences.

This proposed budget is yet another year in which there will be little addition to the "contingency fund."

Given the the history of the majority-4 on council, 2014-15 could be another year in which they raid the contingency for some "unforeseen reason." The majority-4, with the consent of some other council members, took funds from this fund over the years to:
  • They authorized the use the of $2.1 million in contingency reserve funds to underground utility lines along Oracle and Tangerine roads in a three-project proposal brought forth by Tucson Electric Power. There was an ordinance that required “undergrounding” so it was an emergency.
  • They authorized $500,000 to aquatic center upgrade project
  • They raided the fund to build two multi-purpose fields in Naranja Park
The estimated year-end contingency reserve balance in the General Fund for FY 14/15 is $10.1 million. The good news is that this is about 31% of the recommended expenditure budget. The bad news is that it should be more, given such a vast expected increase in anticipated revenues.

Next week: Our take on the Oro Valley's most discretionary fund, the operating fund.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bits and Pieces

Its A Small World

Who would have thought it.

We traveled to Palm Desert (Ca) this week.  We visited the mountaintop town of Idyllwild. Its in the San Bernadino National Forest.

There, were found Oro Valley homeowner Larry Everitt tending his shop, "Everitt's Minerals and Jewelry".  Larrt has a home in Rancho Vistoso. He plans to retire there.  He's is considering opening a store in Oro Valley or a neighboring community.

"Everitt's Minerals and Jewelry" has an interesting selection of minerals from the world and jewelry.  It was a fun place to browse. A store like this would be a nice addition to Oro Valley.
"Tickets on sale for OV’s 40th Anniversary Dinner & Silent Auction

Oro Valley, Ariz. (April 4, 2014) – As part of its 40th Anniversary Celebration, the Town of Oro Valley, in partnership with the Oro Valley Historical Society and the Oro Valley Country Club, will hold a Dinner & Silent Auction on Friday, April 18, 2014.

The event, which will be held at the beautiful Oro Valley Country Club, 300 W. Greenock Drive, will begin at 5:30 p.m. with no-host cocktails, live entertainment and a silent auction to benefit the Oro Valley Historical Society. Dinner (surf and turf combo plate) will be served at 7:30 p.m.

Seating is limited; cost is $50. Tickets may be purchased through the Oro Valley Country Club by phone at 520-297-1121 or in person, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Don’t forget the 40 Days of Deals! Also part of the celebration is the 40 Days of Deals campaign, going on now through April 25. Each day, Oro Valley businesses are offering special deals to customers. To view the 40 Days of Deals calendar, click here or visit us at www.orovalleyaz.gov."(Source Oro Valley Press Release)
"Oro Valley to host U.S. National Synchronized Swimming Championships this weekend

Oro Valley, Ariz. (April 8, 2014) – The Town of Oro Valley will play host to the 2014 U.S. National Synchronized Swimming Championships, April 8 – 12, 2014 at the Oro Valley Aquatic Center, 23 W. Calle Concordia. This national event, which is hosted in partnership with Tucson Synchro, Tucson Sports and the AZ Synchronized Swimming Association, will feature more than 350 swimmers from 41 teams across the nation in the 13-15, Junior and Senior Divisions. Additionally, the USA Junior National Team will give an exhibition performance on Saturday, April 12 at 11:30 a.m. For complete details, click here or visit www.orovalleyaz.gov." (Source Oro Valley Press Release)
Wow. Way To Go BASIS School Oro Valley

"BASIS Oro Valley graduated its first group of seniors in 2013; 100% of graduates were accepted to 4-year universities and these 13 students earned over two million dollars in merit-based scholarships.

Among our Upper School students (grades 8 – 12) 15% are AP Scholars, 4% are AP Scholars with Honor, 14% are AP Scholars with Distinction, and 4% are National AP Scholars. BASIS Oro Valley students competed in the National History Day: State Competition earning six first place entries, one second place entry and 14 qualifications for the National History Day National competition where 4 students received metals for ""Outstanding State Entry.""

BASIS Oro Valley students also took second place at the Regional Math Counts competition, first place at the Math Matters competition, and earned one Gold Key and 3 Silver Keys in the National Scholastic Awards. BASIS Oro Valley teachers also earned recognition. Adrienne Fluitt was named a Top 10 Charter School Teacher in AZ and Teresa Shorbe earned the distinction of AZ Teacher of the Year from National History Day. Learn More about BASIS Oro Valley at www.basisorovalley.org. " (Source)
CDO Shared Use Path Closed Through Saturday

"The CDO Shared Use Path (from La Canada Drive to Oro Valley Marketplace) will be closed completely from Thursday April 10th through Saturday April 12th for pavement sealing and re-striping. It will re-open on Sunday April 13th." (Source)
Oro Valley Related Theft Suspect Causing Mayhem in Phoenix

A suspect in the January "smash and grab" car thefts at LA Fitness has been cashing stolen checks and using stolen ATM cards in the Phonex area.  Watch the news report.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Guest View-John Musolf: Town Clerk Violates Town Policy To Help Mayor Hiremath

The Town of Oro Valley Town Clerk’s Candidate Handbook, dated February 7, 2014 states:

“It is the responsibility of the candidates and campaign committees to comply with all campaign finance laws. The Town does not have the resources or legal obligation to provide guidance, answer questions or verify the accuracy of the reports. Candidates and campaign committees alone are responsible for the contents of their candidate finance reports”. (Section 2, Page 1)

Oro Valley Town Clerk Julie Bowers does not adhere to this policy.

The Town Clerk sent an email to Mayor Satish Hiremath on January 3.
"Just a reminder that a campaign finance report is due January 31, 2014 for your open political committee - Hiremath for Mayor. I have attached the following fillable forms."
As you can see, Bowers violated the policy by reminding him to comply with the law.  She not only reminded him. She also attached the forms to be completed to the email.

I personally served as a Treasurer on two PACs (2011 and again in 2012).  I never received any reminder (“guidance”) to file any required financial report.

This action voluted the Town's written public statement to politically favor and assist (provide guidance) a particular candidate.

We ask: Does Town Clerk Bowers send an email to every PAC to remind them to file their reports or does she favor Hiremath only?

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Heathers Corner: "It's Bee Season!"

Bee Season has begun!

I have heard of witnessed bee swarms or hives from three different sources this week, which tells me that it's officially bee season. My own experience occurred as we noticed a large vibrating basket ball sized swarm this week at a neighbors house, and coincidently where we walk with our new puppy every morning. The neighbor called the bee professionals because it was in such a place of high pedestrian traffic and the potential problem no longer exists. I thought it was important to go over some Bee Sociology 101 and turned to the University of Arizona for some advice and information should you happen upon a swarm/hive yourself.

Honeybees are a social bee, meaning more likely to sting in defense of their hive and to protect their queen. Not native to North America, they were introduced here by European colonists. It wasn't until 1957, however, that two dozen Tanzanian queen bees were accidentally released by a bee keeper in Brazil. In the 1990's the European honeybees began hybridizing with the African honey bees that migrated to the southern most states. This led to what we know and fear today of the African Honey Bee. Today it is estimated that "almost 100% of wild bees in Arizona are Africanized honey bees." Scary stuff.

There is a major difference while assessing the danger of wild bees when deciphering the difference between a colony hive and a swarm. A swarm are bees on the move. They form a large cluster on a branch or dwelling allowing the queen some time to rest before searching for their permanent home. They are fully exposed and no honeycomb is present. Typically these bees are less aggressive and do less flying around, sticking mainly to their huddle around the queen. Within 1-4 days they usually have left and there is no evidence of their presence. A colony is present for weeks to years and the presence of worker bees coming and going is apparent. Most of these bees can not be seen as they are within a cavity, producing the honey and protecting the queen.

If you do encounter a hive or swarm remember these tips:

  1. Do not panic. Deaths related to bee attacks (outside of those with allergies) are mostly caused by external causes such as running into traffic.
  2. Do not try and remove the colony yourself. 
  3. If attacked run in a straight line to a shelter or if not possible, the length of two football fields before stopping.
  4. Once stung, you are a marked target for other bees. Avoid other people or they will also be attacked. 
  5. Never dive under water as swarms will wait for you to surface.

When to call for help? First off I highly respect the University of Arizona but their recommendation for an adult (without anaphylactic symptoms) seeking medical attention after 30 stings seems a bit astonishing as I would be in a panic probably around sting number 3. Nevertheless, it is also recommended to call 911 if you are stung and can't get away from the hive, you see someone being attacked by bees, or if someone has been stung and is showing anaphylactic type symptoms. It is also recommended to contact a bee specialist to remediate a colony if a hive is discovered in an area frequented by people.

In the mean time, I appreciate those little honeybees pollinating all the goodies in my garden, so long as they chose another spot for their real estate.

Read this to learn more about bees.
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, April 7, 2014

Campaign 2014: Spending Campaign Funds-A Case Study

Our analysis of Campaign 2014 continues this week with an analysis of spending. We've selected the Hiremath 2010 campaign as an example because Mayor Hiremath went from being a complete unknown to becoming Mayor.  How did this happen? We think a lot has to do with how the campaign was financed, as we reported last week, and how the money was spent.

Create The Image

When a campaign has sufficient capital, it can use it to promote the candidate in a variety of ways.

The main objective, especially with a mostly unknown candidate such as Satish Hiremath, is to create a brand image that will be most pleasing to the voter.

In this case, the campaign created an image a family man, a small business owner, and a "nice guy."

Promote, Promote, Promote

The campaign promoted the image using four vehicles that used more than 80% of the funds:
  • Mailings of glossy 4-color postcards: 36%
  • Advertising in the local advertising circular and the Arizona Daily Star: 24%
  • Events at Stone Canyon, the Oro Valley Country Club and The Hilton : 12%
  • Brochures, Flyers and Handouts: 12% 
In addition, the campaign successfully gave palm cards to voter on election day, the day on which Hiremath was most certainly elected, to be sure to select his name right when voting.


In essence, the Hiremath campaign created an image where there was none and successfully communicated that image to the voters using a media blitz. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Bits and Pieces

Special Study Session On Budget April 9

Oro Valley Town Manager Greg Caton will lead a discussion for his recommended 2014-15 Oro Valley budget next Wednesday.  The discussion is open to the public.

Four departments will present their budget request;
  • Police 
  • Development and Infrastructure Services 
  • Parks and Recreation 
  • Water Utility
Oro Valley Sprint Triathalon Road Closures and Delays

The Oro Valley Sprint Triathalon is tomorrow.  It is a swim, bike and run event.  Road closures and delays will occur at the following intersections. This is the "bike course" route. The run loops around Kreigh Park.  The event starts at 6:30.
  • W. Calle Concordia at N. La Canada
  • N. La Canada at Lambert Ln.
  • E. Pusch Vie Ln at North OrCLE
  • N. Oracle at W. Calle Concordia
Oro Valley HiVE Deployments For April Announced

The Oro Valley Police Department has released April's HiVE deployments.  HiVE

  • April 9, 2014 4 – 7 p.m. 
  •  April 15, 2014 4 – 7 p.m. 
  •  April 17, 2014 7 - 10 a.m.
  •  April 23, 2014 4 - 7 p.m. 
  •  April 29, 2014 7 - 10 a.m.

Seen In A Backyard

One of our readers sent us this picture of a Coyote in the reader's back yard.  This one is a beauty!
"Do you want to shape OV’s future? Town now accepting applications for project committees

Join the conversation and make a difference in your community! The Town of Oro Valley is accepting applications, now through Wednesday, April 30, 2014, for positions on one of the three Your Voice, Our Future project committees. The project’s goal is to have the community identify common values, issues and solutions. The committees will advise project staff and make recommendations on policy and goal proposals. The results will yield a community plan, often referred to as a “General Plan,” which will shape decisions about the Town’s future and quality of life.

The committees will focus on the following areas:

  • Development: land use, community design, cost of development, infrastructure, and transportation/circulation 
  • Environment: open space and natural resources conservation, water resources, archaeological and historic resources, and environmental planning 
  • Community: economic development, public facilities, services and safety, arts and culture, parks and recreation, and housing

Residents from all walks of life are needed. Applications are easy to fill out and submit online at www.YourVoiceOV.com.

This plan cannot be built without Oro Valley residents. Your Voice Committee members will be tasked with turning the draft vision and guiding principles into a plan for action. The policy development and review portion of the Your Voice, Our Future project is expected to take approximately 12 months to complete. Each of the committees will meet approximately 6-10 times during that period.

This is your opportunity to join with others and help shape Oro Valley’s future!

The draft vision and guiding principles are still available for comment on www.YourVoiceOV.com. The Oro Valley Planning & Zoning Commission will review them at a public meeting on April 10 at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers."

(Source: Oro Valley Press Release)
Read "Crimefighter" On Line

You can view the latest issue of The Oro Valley Police Department's "Crimefighter" publication online. It is the safety newsletter of The Oro Valley Police Department.

"Crimefighter" is worth reading.  It has some interesting tips on protecting yourself, your loved ones and your property.  Prior issues are also available online.