Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Separate Fact from Spin At Tonight's Candidate Forum

Tonight, the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce and the local advertising circular  will host a candidate forum (See right panel for details).  It is the 3rd of 4 forums.  Both sponsoring organizations have been heavy supporters of the incumbents. The local advertising circular, for example, ran a recall Zinkin ad next to a posting by Zinkin explaining his position.  And the Chamber lives off the largess of the town.  So, really, we don't expect the challengers to be given much of a chance.

Still, we think that is it important to set the record straight regarding assertions made by candidates at last week's SunCity Oro Valley Forum since we may hear these again:

False Assertion: There Is No Division On Council Because Most Votes Have Been 7-0
Fact: One Measures Disharmony By Displayed Actions and Attitudes, Not By Votes. Besides,  Most Council Votes Are "No Brainers"

Whether or not there is divisiveness and a lack of civility on the part of the Majority-4 can not be measure by "vote counts."   Divisiveness is measured by actions. The actions of the Majority-4 for the past 2 years demonstrates an effort to divide and not harmonize the council.  They think that there are no consequences when they try to recall Council Member Zinkin, marginalize the ideas of Council Member Garner, and intimidate Council Member Burns with impunity.

The only ideas the Majority-4 accept are their own. They never consider ideas of the minority.  For example, the minority, seeking to understand options for future revenue sources, and there are many options beyond a property tax, sought to put the item up for discussion. They were voted down by the Majority-4.  Something is wrong when only some of the ideas are considered.

The Majority-4 wants to convince you to measure "divisiveness" by votes cast at council meetings.  They asserted this at the SunCity Forum.  According to them, 59% of the votes cast in council meetings from June 2012 to July 2014 were 7-0 votes.

There have been 15, 4-3 votes.  If the vote count has any validity as a measure of division, it is not only in the number of 4-3 votes.  It is in the quality of the no votes. The no votes concerned important matters like:
  • Approval of a Master Sign Plan for El Dorado 
  • Reappointment to CDRB (was this the Gil Alexander hearing?) 
  • Reimbursement from the general fund for TEP underground lines 
  • A Platt amendment for single family home 
  • Changing the Chief of Police Reporting Structure 
  • General Plan Amendment for Vistoso Highlands 
  • Election of Vice Mayor Waters
  • Oro Valley Personnel Policy 
  • 2014/2015 Budget Adoption of Final Budget
The "3" no-votes are all of the minority.  

Division? You think? Repeat: All the no votes are always those of the minority.

We conclude that, by any, measure, qualitative or quantitative, there is great division on this council. As a result, the voices of those who support the minority are never heard.

False Assertion: Minority Council Members Voted Against Home Rule
Fact: All  7 Council Members Voted To Put Home Rule On The Ballot

Incumbent candidate Mayor Satish Hiremath dropped this one at last weeks SunCity Oro Valley Forum:
"Keep in mind, there are members of this council, who are not up for reelection who voted 'no' on home rule." 
You will vote on Home Rule in November. Its passage allows Oro Valley to spend considerably more that the amount that would be allotted by state limits. Oro Valley residents have approve home rule ballot measures every time the measure has been on the ballot.

Mayor Hiremath is wrong. All 7 council members voted to put "home rule" on the ballot

False Assertion: Candidate Bristow Is Against The Development of Parks
Fact: Candidate Bristow Is For The Planned, Not Haphazard, Development of Parks

At this same forum, Council Member Lou Waters alluded to a lack of support on the part of Candidate Don Bristow regarding parks.   "I find it most difficult to find that Mr. Bristow is on the "your Voice our Future" committee."  Waters made this assertion after Bristow had observed that Oro Valley moved ahead with building 2 ball fields at Naranja Park before completing a current town-sponsored study on what to put at the park.  Bristow stated that the plan should be developed before the project begins.

Bristow has never said he was against Parks. He is against haphazard, one-off, unplanned adventures.

False Assertion: Oro Valley "...Does Not Have A Lot of Challenges"
Fact: Oro Valley Has Many Challenges Facing It, Including Protecting Our Lifestyle

Council Member Joe Hornat measures Oro Valley's challenges in "dollars and cents."  He, like Mayor Hiremath, see no other challenges facing Oro Valley.

So, we present a list of some of the items put forth by the challengers and others:
  • Oro Valley moves forward on building things without a plan, such as the ball fields at Naranja Park;
  • Oro Valley moves forward with a flawed "remodeling" plan for the pool. Then, after being told that the initial drawings were not sufficient to produce a world-class pool, it raids the bed tax and contingency funds to fund twice what it planned to spend on the Oro Valley Aquatic Center;  
  • Oro Valley fails to move forward on items that were agreed upon when there was a plan, such as Steam Pump Ranch;
  • Oro Valley still does not have a Community Center, despite paying "lip service" to the need for one for 4 years;
  • "Civility, Integrity and Teamwork" has been replaced with "arrogance and dismissiveness" on the part of the Majority-4. Our community is divided. Bringing Oro Valley together is a big challenge.
  • Oro Valley must consistently work to do things things smarter: "Less money does not mean less services," according to Mayoral Candidate Pat Straney. 
And what of our "quality of life?"  Shouldn't that be in the mind of every Oro Valley elected official?

Today, Oracle Road is becoming like Ina Road in Marana: Traffic lights, heavy vehicular traffic, shopping centers and schlock signs.  800 new apartments will increase population density along Oracle Road, disproportionately burdening the need for town services.  Dark Skies ordinances need to be created to eliminate huge illumination signs like the 2 LA Fitness signs,.  How about our views and hillsides?  These certainly must be protected against the onslaught of requested general plan and zoning amendments.

We could go on and on, but we think you get the gist.
Read the Arizona Daily Star's Fact Check of the Rancho Vistoso Forum.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Heather's Corner: Is Your Neighborhood Safe Enough? Here's How You Can Help.

On the Oro Valley Police Department ("OVPD") link through the Town of Oro Valley's website, there is a wealth of information on how you can participate in keeping the community safe. One example of this is the Neighborhood Watch Program. Any neighborhood can start one and it is not only supported by, but highly suggested from our police department to get your neighborhood involved in one.

The Neighborhood Watch program is free and open to all participants in a variety of geographical settings such as a block, a group of homes, businesses, a park. Members "learn how to make their homes more secure, watch out for each other and he neighborhood and report activities that raise their suspicions to the police."

Once your neighborhood has decided to get involved, you will meet with an OVPD Community Resource Officer to discuss the program and go over any questions. Future meetings, also held by a Resource Officer, will go over crime statistics in your area, how to recognize and report suspicious activity, and the importance if your involvement in protecting your community.

Responsibilities of members include learning neighbors' names and vehicles, displaying Neighborhood Watch signs in your home, and keeping a copy of your Neighborhood Watch map and phone tree in an accessible place to alert neighbors. A minimum of two activities per calendar year must be conducted in order to remain active in the program. These can include but are not limited to neighborhood yard sales, Halloween house decorating parties, progressive dinner parties, etc.

I don't know about you but I've always loved to see those Neighborhood Watch signs. There is something so empowering about knowing there are eyes on the look out for shenanigans in the area. I never knew how some neighborhoods were privy to that program and was thrilled to find out it is available for any neighborhood. What a great way to meet your neighbors, have them keep an eye on your house while on vacation, or to know neighborhood support is just a phone call away.

Click here to learn how to start watch program for your neighborhood.
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, July 28, 2014

Guest View-Council Member Bill Garner: Straney and Bristow Are The Only Choice For Oro Valley

Thanks to the Citizens of Oro Valley, I am serving my second term on the Oro Valley Council. I have, up to now, tried to stay out of the pettiness that we have all witnessed. I have thought it inappropriate to openly campaign or endorse any candidate running for any Oro Valley office.

Although I truly believe that people who know me can probably quickly figure out where I stand on this year's race for Council and Mayor. I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight, in case there is any doubt. It is very important that Pat Straney be elected Mayor and that Don Bristow be elected to council.

Our current Mayor has done nothing to bring this Council together. He has had many opportunities to show unity on the Council. Instead he has chosen to flex his muscle and be divisive. He does not share what he does when he is out representing the Oro Valley as a member of the Pima Association of Governments (PAG) or the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).

Our current Mayor was at the forefront in the failed recall attempt. I have never seen a sitting member of an elected body actively participate in, let alone lead the recall of another sitting member of that body. He has divided our community. He should be replaced so that we can take this town forward.

Pat Straney is a man with a corporate background. He has supervised large numbers of people and been responsible for large budgets. He has shown his leadership skills as the President of the Rancho Vistoso Community HOA. He is a man of integrity, with all the leadership qualities, and is deserving of your support.

Don Bristow has also been active in his neighborhood HOA. He has been a fixture at Council meetings and many Planning and Zoning meetings. He has shown an active interest in our Community and deserves to be on Council. Don studies the agenda and has, on many occasions, contacted the Council prior to the meeting with his insight. Don is well versed in the Town's Codes and Council Procedures. He will "hit the road running".  He will be an outstanding council member.

This is an important election. We need to change the complexion of the Council. It is time I stepped out and publicly stated my support...and do so for Pat Starney and Don Bristow.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Bits and Pieces

Sun City Oro Valley Forum Has No "Shockers"

There were no "shockers" at this week's Sun City Oro Valley Forum.  8 questions were asked and answered.  Each candidate presented a 2-minute opening and a 2-minute closing remark.  We parsed the opening remarks into 6 clips, one for each candidate.  There is one clip in total for the closing remarks. And one clip for each question.  Watch some or all of the forum on the Zeeman Channel.

Could Unaccompanied Alien Children Be Coming To Live In Oro Valley?

It is possible that Oro Valley, like Oracle, will be required to house Unaccompanied Alien Children ("UAC")?

 One of our readers sent us this article: "New Obama Rule Could Force Cities To House Illegals." Oro Valley could be impacted because Oro Valley signed on to Pima County's request for HUD grants.

We suspect that the Obama Administration will tell Oro Valley that it needs to house the people because of this, even though Oro Valley never actually gets HUD funding, the town did sign an Intergovernmental Agreement ("IGA") with Pima County to do so.  The agreement was signed by town attorney Joe Andrews on 7-13-13 of last year.

On the positive side, housing UAC's would immediately fill the  occupancy of the 800 plus "luxury apartments" that are coming on stream soon.
Generous Oro Valley Residents, the ULS, help Vail Teacher

You will want to read this article about how an Oro Valley couple, Steve and Diane Uhl, are funding a Vail District school teacher's Arizona teaching license.  Their act is a generous response of kindness to a foolish State regulation.
How Lake Mead's Water Shortage Could Affect Oro Valley

We have extolled the excellent work done by the Town Of Oro Valley in water conservation.  We've discussed steps such as recharging CAP Water, golf course use of reclaimed water, and getting a free home water audit.  In May, Heather's Corner suggested ways that each of us can conserve water.  All have resulted in putting Oro Valley in a safe water quality and water quantity position.

Water use, however, is not entirely in Oro Valley's hands. Oro Valley is also at the mercy of cities like Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas because Oro Valley does use CAP water to recharge its aquifer.

We have been following and reporting to you the steady decline of water levels in Lake Mead. It is now at 39% capacity.  Las Vegas is the primary user of Lake Mead water.  However, if Lake Mead gets lower, Las Vegas, a huge water hog, will draw from the entire CAP system.  This, together with other restrictions, will reduce Arizona's take from the system and, therefore, the take Oro Valley will get.

(Other information; Previous LOVE water postings)
Oro Valley Republicans Host: "Meet The Candidates" Forget To Invite Straney and Bristow

The Oro Valley Republican group held a "meet the candidates" session last week. They invited Oro Valley's Majority-4. They did not invite challengers Pat Straney or Don Bristow.  Mayor Hiremath was invited.  Candidate Waters said the Hiremath did not attend because he had a "dental emergency."  Visit the Zeeman Channel to watch Hornat, Snider and Waters' remarks.
Star Compares Straney-Hiremath Leadership Styles

This week, a article in the Star compared Pat Straneys' leadership style to that of Satish Hiremath.  It is easy to tell the leadership styles apart.  Straney guy listens. Hiremath lectures.  Straney unites. Hiremath takes up arms against a fellow council member. End of story.
Tucson Realtors Endorse Incumbents or "Be Still My Heart"

This week, The Tucson Realtors Association endorsed Oro Valley's incumbents. (Source)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Candidates Weigh In On The General Plan: A Guideline Or A Guideline

In 2010, then candidate for Mayor, Satish Hiremath, discussed the "issues" as he saw them.  They were posted on his web site.  One of these is his view of the general plan and what it means to governance of Oro Valley.

Here's what Candidate Hiremath wrote in 2010:

"Oro Valley has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in updating and ratifying its General Plan. If for financial reasons only, the Town should begin to – as the Plan states in its Preamble – follow and consistently apply it. The General Plan represents the Will of the People, and needs to be a critical part of deliberation over fiscal, cultural, and economic requirements."

Mayor Hiremath changed is mind once in office. He has stated repeatedly at council meetings that the general plan is a guideline.  At no time during his tenure as Mayor has he ever referred to the general plan as being the "...critical part of any deliberation" that he stated he was in his 2010 issues statement.

Mayor Hiremath affirmed his position at the Northwest Conservatives Forum:

"It is a policy document hat should be used as a guideline.... Like any document, it is open to interpretation. You have to use that not just as that sole piece but you gotta in context with the larger piece."

At that forum, Mayor Hiremath used the Environmentally Sensitive Land Ordinance (ESLO) as an example of how he has implemented the General Plan. Mayor Hiremath was correct when he stated: "Under my tenure we ratified the ESLO."  His remark would lead one to think that he had something to do with the ESLO.

Was Mayor Hiremath misleading us?  We think so.  Mayor Hiremath had nothing to do with the ESLO other than voting for it.

These are the facts:
  • The ESLO was required by element 11.2.7 of the 2005 General Plan.
  • It was put on the 'back burner' until Council Member Barry Gillaspie rekindled it, fearing that time was not on the side of ever creating such a plan give the nature of the 2007-8  recession and a push, by the development community, to reduce restrictions.
  • None of the Majority-4, including Mayor Hiremath, ever worked on any of the ESLO.
  • The ESLO was the work of many people, including Council Member Barry Gillaspie and resident, then Planning and Zoning Commission member, Bill Adler.   Neighborhood meetings were held in 2009. The town had an ESLO technical advisory committee that included Carolyn Campbell; Arizona Sonoran Desert Coalition; John Windes, Arizona Game and Fish Department; Sherry Ruther, Pima County Environmental Planning Manager; and Scott Richardson, US Fish&Wildlife Service.
  • Voting on the ESLO had been pulled from the January agenda, though Council Members Garner and Gillaspie (and, yes, then Council Member Solomon) have motioned to consider it then. At that time, the Majority-4 weren't ready to approve it.  The "environment heavies" had to weigh in to get it passed.
  • The ESLO was approved unanimously by council on February 16, 2011, after being "watered down" by appointed Council Member Solomon.  Council Member Gillaspie, working with Solomon, was trouble by the compromises made at the end, but he felt that it was more important to have an ESLO than to not.
  • The Majority-4, and the rest of council, approved a "watered-down" ESLO on February 16, 2011.    
Mayor Hiremath did not do the the heavy lifting.  Council Member Gillaspie and others, like resident Bill Adler, did the "heavy lifting."  Mayor Hiremath did nothing more than to vote for the final version of the plan.

Is this the best example of implementing the general plan that Mayor Hiremath has?  Is there nothing else that he can use to illustrate how, during his tenure, he has considered the general plan "... as a critical part of deliberations" as he had claimed he would in 2008?


If it is his best example, then he has nothing to point to that shows how he as implemented the general plan.  Perhaps the reason he has no example is because, to Mayor Hiremath, the general plan is merely a guide to be interpreted as one wishes.

Watch the video linked above to learn how the other candidates feel about whether General Plan is blueprint or a guide.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Straney and Bristow Seek To Unite Oro Valley

"What will you do to unite Oro Valley?" 

That question was put to the candidates at the Northwest Conservatives Forum on July 9.

Candidate Bristow summed up the feeling of many in the community.
"In my opinion there is discord. You can't have 3 council members very active in trying to recall another one, in the papers, out on the streets, and not have discord."  
Don also spoke of the need for respect for the opinions of others, respect that has been lacking in the council: "When you are discussing issues you do not attack people, you discuss the issues." Don would like to be sure in his tenure as council person to get the best opinions of all 7 members of council.

Candidate Straney observed: "I like energetic discussion... I seek alternate opinions. When people feel strongly... you need to do the hard job of listening."

It is not possible to fix a problem if you deny there is a problem. the Majority-4 deny that Oro Valley is a divided community.  Here is where they stand:

Hornat: "I don't think there is discord."
Council Member Hornat supports his position with information on council votes.  During the tenure of this council, there have been "..15, votes out of 158 votes that were 4-3 votes;  99 of them were 7-0 votes."  He feels that the council has aired their differences very well.

Hornat, as we previously reported, was gathering recall signatures at Fry's in Oracle in the last days of the recall effort when he was supposed to be at a meeting a Securaplane.  Hornat is also one of the 2 individuals on council who attack, rather than discuss issues.

Mayor Hiremath: I did it because it was right
Mayor Hiremath led the failed Zinkin recall effort. He did not answer the question as to how he would bring Oro Valley together.  Perhaps, he simply does not care to or think there is as need to bring the community together.  Rather, Hiremath lectured that it was his job to enforce the rules and that's what he was doing when he led the recall of Council Member Zinkin.

Council Member Snider: If someone is still offended "... all we need to do is talk about it."
Council Member Snider thinks that "I think the recall issue is over."  This from a council person who was still talking about the recall on February 24, a month after it failed.  She gave a speech at council on how "offended" she was by alleged remarks.

Council Member Waters: "Theres nothing wrong with disagreement,"
Council Member Waters asserted that "It is untrue that sitting Council Members organized any recall." Water's role in the recall was to advise the other members of the Majority-4 on how to "make the recall personal." Thus, Snider's Februry 24 remarks.
Watch the video of the candidate responses.  Tell us which candidates are best qualified to bring Oro Valley together.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Heather's Corner: Monsoons-It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I love the monsoons! So does Beatrice.

So what if my backyard floods every time it rains. I don't care that I have to keep towels by my front window when the water decides to come at the house in a horizontal down pour. And least of all do I care that our dog, Beatrice, thinks the sofa is her personal grooming towel to dry off when she comes back in from doing her business. I love it all!

So I thought I would share a few facts I found on monsoons with you:
Beatice Enjoys The Monsoon!
  • 32 percent our of Arizona’s yearly rain totals come during the monsoon. 
  • 40 percent of In Pinetop’s yearly rain totals come during the monsoon. 
  • 62 percent of Bisbee’s yearly rain totals come during the monsoon. 
  • Lightning will strike about 500,000 times during the monsoon. 
  • There are between 500 and 600 Arizona weather spotters. 
  • The term “monsoon” comes from the Arabic “mausim” meaning “season” or “wind shift”. 
  • The Arizona monsoon officially begins June 15th. Until recently, the monsoon was official three consecutive day of dew points above 55 degrees. Now it officially starts whether there is any change in the dew point or not. 
  • The official last day of the monsoon is September 30th. 
  • The word “monsoon” refers to a season by definition, and should never be used with the word “season”. 
  • The Arizona monsoon usually continues for about two months resulting in about 2 1/2 inches of rain and about 1/3 of our yearly rainfall. 
  • Monsoon storms range from minor dust storms to violent thunderstorms. Arizona monsoon storms start with heavy winds sometimes resulting in a visible wall of dust hundreds of feet high. 
  • Dust storms during the monsoon are normally accompanied by thunder and lightning and often lead to heavy downpours. 
  • The longest Arizona monsoon is recorded as 99 days in 1984. -The shortest Arizona monsoon on record is 27 days in 1962. 
  • The most rain generated from an Arizona monsoon was 9.38 inches in 1984. 
  • The driest monsoon in Arizona was .35 inches in 1924 
Arizona Stupid Motorist law, enacted in 1995 for governments to hold motorists responsible for rescue and recovery who knowingly enter a roadway or wash in rushing waters from a monsoon, even has it's own Facebook page now.

There you can learn: "If you get caught in a ‪monsoon, pull over and turn off your lights. Stay safe. Don't be a stupid motorist!"

And for those looking for a more scientific approach to monsoons, they are most simply a response to the sun heating up the atmosphere. "In Arizona, the process starts with the hot and dry weather of May and June. Usually, the winds are from a dry westerly direction, so humidity is low and temperatures soar above 100 degrees in the deserts. As the atmosphere warms, the jet stream retreats northward. this allows the winds to shift to a more southerly component and bring in the moisture. Most of our humid air comes from the Sea of Cortez, but a good portion also comes from the Gulf of Mexico. Once the moist air arrives, our strong summer sun heats the moist air causing the familiar thunderstorm (cumulonimbus) clouds." (Source)

We'd love you to share any monsoon photos with us.

In the meantime keep enjoying all the benefits of the monsoons and this photo of Beatrice doing the same.
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.)