Friday, August 17, 2018

Joe Winfield releases new video

Please check out this short video from Mayoral Candidate, Joe Winfield. We think you'll like it!

Click HERE to view it.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Councilmember Steve Solomon threatens three Oro Valley women. Part 3.

The following is the final segment of a 3-part narrative establishing a sequence of events concerning the unprofessional and threatening behavior of Oro Valley Town Councilmember Steve Solomon. Part 2 discussed the email threat he made to a citizen. Today, we reveal her response.

You can read Part 2 immediately beneath this article which also contains a link to Part 1.

She responded with a 4-page manifesto at his feeble attempt to intimidate her. Excerpts of her epic takedown are below:

“I’m entitled to draw my own conclusions. And it’s worth noting that many other residents have drawn the same conclusions and have stated so publicly…Also, an opinion cannot be defamatory. A qualified statement such as ‘My conclusion is…In my opinion…I think that…I suspect that…’ are not defamatory statements because they are opinions and are not stated as fact.”

“For someone who comes across as a know-it-all, I find it amusing that you do not know the legal definition of the word “slander." Allow me to enlighten you:

Slander is a false oral statement about someone made to a third party that harms someone’s reputation or standing within the community. Libel is a false written statement made to a third party that harms someone’s reputation or standing within the community.”

“In an [earlier] email you wrote me…you stated that “you and your opinions have absolutely no credibility in our community.” Now you’re claiming that my comments are so credible that they are harming your supposed stellar reputation. At this point, you’re arguing with yourself.”

“It is established law that the First Amendment protects citizens from government retaliation for exercising their First Amendment rights. I was exercising my First Amendment rights when I asked you, an elected official, to explain your conflicting statements.”

“We expect our elected officials to act with integrity and honor. We expect our elected officials to treat us with respect and to not berate, belittle, and lecture us when we have a difference of opinion. And we expect to be allowed to question our elected officials without fear of retaliation and the threat of a lawsuit. After all, citizens do have the right to discuss public affairs with their elected officials.”

“Your behavior (lecturing citizens, belittling citizens, and now threatening them) is unbecoming for an elected official, and is especially hypocritical for one who ran on a ‘civility’ platform.”

“The situation is that I asked you a reasonable question about conflicting statements you made and when you were unable to defend those statements, you, in your infinite wisdom, decided that the best course of action was to threaten a citizen.”

What do you think?
We now have Solomon threatening one resident in an email and accosting two other residents in public. Is this the kind of behavior that you expect from your elected officials? Is it appropriate behavior? Do you believe that the mayor and sitting council will condemn his behavior? Remember that this is the same guy that Mayor Hiremath was crying and blubbering over when he had to bid him farewell when Solomon was initially voted out of office in 2012.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Councilmember Steve Solomon threatens three Oro Valley women. Part 2.

Over the past couple of months, LOVE has received information about three Oro Valley women who have received threats from Oro Valley Town Councilmember Steve Solomon. Part 1 (published on August 6th) discussed the face-to-face threats that he made to two of these women.  (You can read it HERE)

Today’s article discusses the email threat that he made to a third woman. LOVE is only going to report on what happened. We are not releasing the names of the “victims” at this time.

The threatening email incident
Councilmember Solomon voted to approve a storage facility at Steam Pump Village during the 3/15/17 Town Council meeting. A resident emailed Solomon questioning a comment he made during that meeting that a storage facility was more appropriate than a restaurant at Steam Pump Village because, “That site isn’t visible from Oracle Road. You don’t put a restaurant in a place that’s completely hidden.”

She wondered why he didn’t apply that same reasoning to the Town-owned Overlook Restaurant which is completely hidden from view. She asked, “Is it because a completely hidden restaurant is acceptable as long as it’s being subsidized with other people’s money?”

Solomon responded that the Overlook was more like a “destination” restaurant that gets “a large portion of their customers that are already at that location for other reasons,” whereas he felt that a stand alone restaurant needs high visibility to attract customers.

The resident responded, “I understand why you believe that the Overlook can survive despite being hidden from the road, but I don’t understand why you felt that a storage facility was a better choice than a restaurant in an area that is planned as a future dining/shopping area and walkable gathering space [Main Streets destination area]. In that scenario, it would not be a stand alone restaurant. The only conclusion I can draw is that it [his vote to approve a storage facility] had something to do with the $13,000 in campaign contributions from Diamond Ventures.”

At this point, Solomon went off the rails, claiming that she had accused him of “criminal activity, of accepting a bribe.” He continued, “This is a slanderous unsupported claim. It is a well-established legal principle that such a criminal accusation against a private person or public official is not protected speech and the accuser is subject to legal action.” He stated that the situation “may result in legal action against you.”


Why LOVE decided to make this story public

These repeated threats by Councilmember Solomon put a huge stain on the entire Town Council as Hiremath-Hornat-Snider-Waters endorsed his candidacy in the 2016 Town Council election and Rhonda Pina and Bill Rodman ran as a slate with Solomon in that election. They are all aware of the threats he has made and they have all remained silent. The fact that they have all kept this quiet was our first clue that we should make it public.

Additionally, Solomon has gone from making false accusations against Oro Valley residents from the dais to threatening them in emails to verbally accosting them in public. He appears to have a very fragile ego and appears to be emotionally unstable. What’s next? Physical assault? This is another reason that LOVE has decided that this story needs to be told.

Part 3 will be published tomorrow and will reveal the epic takedown that Solomon received from this resident in response to his threat of legal action.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Bits and Pieces

More evidence of Special Interest Influence
Mayor Hiremath stated that the discussion to purchase the El Con Country Club and Golf Courses from Humberto Lopez/HSL Properties began in mid-2014. Town records reveal this to be true as the initial meeting took place on June 18, 2014.

However, what Hiremath never mentions is that just one month prior to that meeting and again one month after that meeting (the meetings that would set the stage for the Town’s $1 million dollar deal with HSL) Humberto Lopez/HSL Properties donated a total of $14,000 to the campaigns of Hiremath-Hornat-Snider-Waters.

And they wonder why residents don’t believe their claim that special interest donations do not influence their decisions.

Another broken promise
In October 2015, Mayor Hiremath was quoted in the Explorer as stating:
“The upgrades for the (Community Center) buildings and golf courses will be paid for by a 0.5% increase in our sales tax rate. There is no borrowing involved so there would be no long-term debt. We are paying cash as we go.” [Oro Valley Recall Election Candidate Answers, Explorer, 10/21/15]
Fast-forward to the June 6, 2018 Town Council meeting:
Mayor Hiremath and the Town Council voted unanimously to bond for $6 million dollars in order to remodel the outdated Community Center and upgrade the aging golf course irrigation lines.

What happened to the upgrades being paid for with the half-cent sales tax increase? Looks like just another broken promise from Hiremath-Hornat-Snider-Waters.

Incumbent Flyer Myths – It’s the Recession stupid
The incumbents (Hiremath-Hornat-Snider-Waters) distributed a Myths vs. Facts flyer where they attempt to answer the so-called myths about their 8 years on council. We don’t have time to address all of their excuses, but this one was particularly amusing.

Myth: “This council is putting up too many homes too fast.”

Their Response: “From 2000-2010, the number of home permits issued was an average of 383 home permits per year. Since 2010, during this council’s tenure, the number of home building permits issued has been an average of only 182 per year (a 45% decrease).”

The Whole Truth: First of all, it’s disingenuous to compare a 10-year period with an 8-year period, but more importantly, they omitted the fact that the recession began in 2008 and continued through their first five years in office, 2010-2015. Homebuilders stopped building during the recession. The lack of new home permits during this time wasn’t because the incumbents were being selective with their approvals, it was because there were barely any developer applications to approve!

According to Town Finance Director, Stacey Lemos, Oro Valley was still feeling the results of the recession until around 2014-15. Quoting her from the June 6th budget discussions:
“The adopted budget amounts fluctuate (over the years) and not only reflect the impact of The Great Recession when we saw those budgets dip below $100M during FY 2011/12 through 2013/14, but we also see them start to rebound (in 2015) as the local construction activity started to gain speed in the single family and multi family housing markets.”
In a separate section of their “Myths” flyer, the incumbents admitted that their tenure took place “during Oro Valley’s worst recession in history.” This means that they knowingly included the low number of permits approved during The Great Recession in order to skew the calculations in their favor.

Town records reveal that in 2010 and 2011 (during the Recession) they approved only 50 and 47 single family home permits respectively…but by 2016 and 2017 they had approved 302 and 335 single family home permits respectively.

Town permit records do not yet show that in 2018, they also approved a total of 748 new “cluster homes” just in the LaCholla area. So while they claim that since taking office in 2010, their average is 182 home permits per year, that average jumps to 462 per year in the past three years. (302 + 335 + 748 = 1405 divided by 3 = 462)

Councilmember Mary Snider omits important details at El Con Forum
During the Candidate Forum held at the El Conquistador Hotel on July 31st, Councilmember Snider claimed that the proof that they listen to citizens regarding development proposals was that the Capella rezoning (west side of LaCholla between Naranja and Lambert) took three years to pass.

What she didn’t say was that the Major General Plan Amendments for this parcel were approved in May 2015 (after 9 months of negotiations with a citizens’ group in which Snider played no part) and that it was the applicant who chose to not come back to request the Rezoning until three years later in 2018.

Mayor Hiremath lies about “the simple things”
In the June 20th Explorer, Hiremath made this assertion about the challengers: “If they are willing to spread falsehoods to you about simple things, then you have to ask yourself what will they be willing to tell you on serious matters if elected?”

If you watched the Take Back OV video that we posted on Friday (Mayoral Fiction and Fantasy) you now know that while Mayor Hiremath claimed that, “It felt good to interact with the community while canvassing for signatures” and “we didn’t really get any negative feedback at all” (implying that he had done some serious door-to-door canvassing), a review of his petitions (public record) revealed that he collected only 20 signatures.

If he’s willing to spread falsehoods to you about simple things…

Monday, August 13, 2018

Blading The Desert

Mayor Hiremath, in the May 9th Explorer, denied that the Oro Valley Town Council continually votes to allow developers to destroy our desert views with mass grading.

"There were some concerns about...we're blading and grading the desert...Look around you, you can't even see anything because of the amount of foliage. It just couldn't be further from the truth."

Apparently, Mayor Hiremath hasn't looked around.

Or, perhaps, he doesn't want you to believe your own eyes.

Here's a video (Source: takebakov.com) of the desert blading taking place in Oro Valley.

Determine the truth for yourself.
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Friday, August 10, 2018

The Oro Valley Election: "You Don't Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows"

A simple voting decision: Do you like what you see?
We've been following election related discussions posted on nexdoor.com. The discussions are interesting: "The golf course is good." "No. The golf course is bad;" "High paced development is good." "No. High paced development is bad." Some commenters have made up their minds. Some commenters are doing more research.

Here's all the research you need.

Look around you. Do you like what you see? Do you want 4 more years of the same?

If you don't like what you see, if you want a change in the direction of Oro Valley, then vote for the challengers (Winfield, Barrett, Nicholson, Jones-Ivey).

If you like what you see and you want more of the same, then vote for the incumbents.

It's a simple decision

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."(Watch The Video)

Is Hiremath's claim of community feedback bogus? 
In the May 9 edition of the Explorer, Mayor Hiremath stated that "It felt good to interact with the community while canvasing for signatures." How many signatures did he canvass? 20!

That's right, 20 signatures!

20, according to an analysis by local group takebackov of each Hiremath petition he submitted.

Not much community feedback.


Your Views Don't Matter To Mayor Hiremath
Mayor Hiremath cares little for what the community thinks. He's always felt that way. Watch (at left) Hiremath lecture residents who spoke at the country club acquisition hearing in December of 2014.

Then ask yourself: Do you want 4 more years of this behavior?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Guest View: Tim Bohen ~ Satish and Humberto’s Excellent Adventure. Part 2. The Bombshell.

(Part 1 can be found immediately below this article.)

So why is the El Conquistador Country Club and Golf Courses Purchase and Sale agreement 584 pages? How complicated could it be to manage a money losing Country Club based around a dying sport?

Well, it turns out that the sale of El Conquistador was part of a 1031 exchange executed by HSL El Conquistador Golf, LLC. We all know that the Town purchased from Humberto Lopez, for exactly $1 million dollars, an outdated and run-down country club facility, 45 holes of golf, 31 tennis courts, etc.

But did you know that HSL El Conquistador Golf, LLC simultaneously purchased from our Town for exactly one million dollars, a .57 acre exchange parcel (220-13-0080 recorded 5/1/2015) south of the 6th hole on the Pusch Ridge Course? I have found no mention of this 1031 exchange in the local media or more importantly, on the Town website.

This exchange parcel raises many questions
(1) How did this .57 acre parcel adjacent to the main resort buildings conveniently pencil out as being equal in exchange value to 45 holes of golf, 31 lighted tennis courts, 2 swimming pools and an aging 31,000 square foot country club facility on 324 acres of prime Oro Valley property?

The answer to this question might lie in a State law that says that the Town cannot sell any land or buildings in an amount over $1,500,000 without voter approval. [See citation at the end of this article; ARS Title 9, Section 403]

This appears to explain why the Town sold the property for exactly $1 million. With a sale price of just $500,000 more, the Town would have been required to hold a special election for voter approval to sell the property, and if approved, the Town would then be required to sell the parcel via public auction and there would have been no guarantee that HSL would have gotten it.

(2) Why did our Town need to sell this parcel in 2014? It’s right next to the El Conquistador main resort building. If we are truly betting on HSL to succeed and expand, why throw our Town ticket away before the race even starts?

(3) If the Town could offer this half acre parcel to HSL as well as the sales tax subsidy, why would HSL need to consider any other purchase offers? So what was the rush for the Town to purchase the El Con Country Club? Remember that Mayor Hiremath insisted that we needed to act fast to purchase it because there were other interested buyers in the queue.

The answer to this question is that it’s likely all about land and taxes…HSL’s control of land in the way that works best for them, their avoidance of taxes, and your payment of sales taxes to support upkeep of the golf courses that their hotel guests are allowed to use.

(4) Where did the Town hide the $1 million dollar payment from HSL for his purchase of the half acre parcel? Town financials show where we paid $1 million to purchase the El Con Country Club from HSL (three installments over three years) but they do not show where HSL paid the Town $1 million for the half acre “exchange parcel.”

(5) Did the Town and HSL cut checks to each other at the same time, effectively cancelling each other out or is the $1 million dollar payment from HSL to the Town just fiction?

(The additional information below was provided by the LOVE editorial staff.)

But wait…there’s more
Conversations with three former councilmembers (Zinkin, Garner, and Burns) who were on Town Council at the time that the purchase was being negotiated and finalized reveal that none of them were ever made aware of this “exchange parcel.” And they were never given the opportunity to review the contract prior to it being finalized and approved by the Town Manager.

Now ask yourself…Why didn’t Mayor Hiremath and Councilmembers Hornat, Snider, and Waters want the other council members to see the final contract before it was signed?

State law regarding the sale of real property by the Town, ARS Title 9, Section 403
A. Real property of a city or town, the value of which exceeds one million five hundred thousand dollars, shall not be sold unless first authorized by a special election called for the purpose of submitting to the voters of the city or town the question of selling or not selling the real property proposed for sale. The election shall be held within the corporate limits of the city or town on a date prescribed by section 16-204, and notice shall be given as provided in section 9-402.

B. The ballots shall contain a description of the property proposed for sale and the reason why the governing body desires the property sold. The description and reasons shall be printed in eight-point type and shall contain not more than one hundred words.

C. If a majority of the ballots cast is in favor of selling, then the governing body may sell the property at public auction, after giving the notice required in section 9-402, to the highest bidder for cash, reserving the right to reject any and all bids.

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Tim Bohen grew up in Southern California and moved to Oro Valley in 2015. He has a Bachelors degree in Physics from UCI and an MBA from Loyola Marymount. He is employed as a Systems Engineer. He graduated from the Community Academy in 2016 and the Citizens Academy in 2017. He was recently appointed to the Oro Valley Historic Preservation Commission and is a volunteer mediator with the Arizona Attorney General’s office. His interests include aviation and history, with his greatest interest currently being frontier life and how the West was settled.