Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Editorial ~ The Sign Tamperer. Part 2. “The Smoking Gun”

Part 1 was published on Monday. Please scroll down to read it if you haven’t already done so.

Crime Scene Investigation
The photograph that was published was an overhead shot. A few days after it was published, three Oro Valley residents (including a former law enforcement officer using binoculars) walked the site of the “crime” and could not find a camera attached to either a pole or a building that could have taken the picture from the angle at which it was taken (from above and to the right of the sign).

A security camera on the old Sports Authority building was aimed at the parking lot, not at the area with the sign. This camera was tested nonetheless and found to be inactive. So what happened to the “surveillance” camera? Who put it there, when, and why? It appears to have been removed right after the picture was taken. This leads us to wonder if this “crime” was a staged event.

The Smoking Gun
Also of interest is who filed the complaint. The person who made and posted the sign should be the one who filed the complaint since they are claiming that the sign was their property. This means that the OVPD now knows the identity of the person who deliberately posted many of those same signs directly in front of Axe the Tax signs in an effort to block them from view. This is a Class 2 misdemeanor under ARS 16-1019. Why hasn’t the OVPD issued a citation against them?

Collusion?
Axe the Tax dealt with sign issues for weeks…stolen signs, signs found thrown in a wash, signs bent in half, signs covered by “Why Ax Kids Sports?” signs deliberately placed directly in front of them.

In these instances, the State Statute does apply since these signs were paid for and placed by a PAC. (Axe the Tax PAC).

It’s suspicious that the OVPD turned this “non-story” into front page news and that they pulled this stunt just one week before the election, just in time to make the last issue of the Explorer before election day. Was the OVPD (via marching orders from the mayor) colluding with the Yes on 454 folks to damage the character and credibility of Axe the Tax supporters in a last ditch effort to garner more votes for their $28 million dollar “desperately needed ball fields?”

After all, similar stunts have been pulled in past Oro Valley elections. Remember the “Lou Waters was assaulted by a ream of paper” story that they pulled out during the 2015 Recall Election in order to smear the character of the challengers? That case went to court. Waters lost. We have to wonder what ploys they will conjure up this year in order to tip the scales in their favor for the Town Council election in August.

It bears repeating
We will end Part 2 of this article the same way we ended Part 1. This whole thinks smacks of political maneuvering and LOVE does not take kindly to our police being involved in politics.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Editorial ~ The Sign Tamperer. Part 1.

With another Town election coming up in August as the mayor and three Town Council members run for a third term, LOVE would like to report on a campaign problem that is likely to rear it’s ugly head again in a few short months.

Background
Back in early November 2017, many of you saw the photo on the front page of the Explorer of a person who was allegedly seen tampering with a “Why Ax Kids Sports?” sign near the intersection of First and Oracle. The caption accompanying the photo indicated that the “OVPD is asking for the public’s help with a criminal damage investigation.” This seemed a little excessive considering that the sign was not an official campaign sign protected under Arizona State law, but rather, would be considered the equivalent of a Yard Sale sign.

Who’s the Boss?
After you read this article, ask yourself these questions:

• Why is the OVPD putting this much time, effort, manpower, and taxpayer money into investigating the equivalent of someone tampering with a homemade “Yard Sale” sign?

• Does this merit a 3-month long (and counting) investigation? Why are they going to such great lengths to find the “perpetrator” when no campaign laws were violated? Don’t our police have more important things to do?

•Who’s orchestrating this?

• Would the police launch a “criminal damage investigation” if someone had tampered with a Yard Sale sign? Would they post a picture of the person on the OVPD Facebook page AND on the front page of the Explorer newspaper asking for the public’s help in finding this person? Of course not. So why did they do it in this instance?

• Why are they maneuvering to keep the Police Report from the public?

OVPD Withholds release of Police Report
LOVE wanted to report on this story back in November, but in order to report the whole story, we needed to obtain a copy of the Police Report. One of our LOVE readers has been trying to obtain this report since November. The OVPD initially said that it couldn’t be released until the investigation was closed. When the case was finally closed in mid-January and the LOVE reader attempted once again to obtain a copy of the report, the case was suddenly reopened because “new information has been obtained in furtherance of the investigation.”

It’s suspicious that new information was obtained which bars the release of the report just as the report was about to be released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Someone does not want that file to be released.

After waiting patiently for more than three months, LOVE has decided to report on what we know at this time. We’re also reporting on it now because the repeated delays in releasing the Police Report have become a story all on its own.

Why is this story important?
The etiology of the complaint is an important piece of this investigation. The owner of the “property” must be known and identified for any item to be considered “property” under law. Additionally, no complaint is valid or actionable by law enforcement unless a complaint is filed by that “property” owner. Once a complaint is filed, it is required to be disclosed upon any request under Federal FOIA and Arizona Public Records law.

During the Naranja Park Bond election, numerous “Why Ax Kids Sports?” signs were illegally placed directly in front of campaign signs that had been posted by the Axe the Tax PAC. Axe the Tax filed a complaint with the Town. When contacted by the Town Clerk about the illegal placement of these signs [a Class 2 misdemeanor under ARS 16-1019] the Yes on 454 PAC claimed that these signs did not belong to them.

Being that there was no “Paid for by…..” disclosure statement on the signs, it appeared that they were placed by an individual who was not associated with any political action committee. Therefore, it was assumed that they did not belong to the YES on 454 PAC.

Irresponsible Allocation of Town Resources
Since no campaign laws were violated, the amount of time and effort being spent on this investigation is disproportionate to the “crime” that was allegedly committed. The question remains…why? This whole thing smacks of political maneuvering and LOVE does not take kindly to our police being involved in politics.

Part 2 will be published on Wednesday.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

From our Readers

One of our readers sent us the following information that they found on the Town website on the Parks and Recreation page. The notice is on the bottom left of the Parks page under the “Announcements” tab.

NARANJA FIELD 1 AND 2 CLOSED JANUARY - FEBRUARY

"Naranja Field 1 and 2 will be closed from Monday, January 8, 2018 - February 24, 2018. The closure is due to a training camp for Major League Soccer team, the New York Red Bulls. For more information please call 520-229-5050. Thank you."

You can read the notice HERE

We all thought that the critically needed fields in Naranja Park were “ for the kids.” Guess not. It seems the kids have been kicked off fields 1 & 2 throughout January and February so the fields can be used for exclusive training use by a Major League Soccer Team.

Maybe that’s why the town spent $600,000 for each soccer field, twice what youth fields cost in other communities. But hey, the team is staying at the EL Conquistador Resort so it’s a win-win for HSL. 

Oro Valley Soccer Mom voices her displeasure

The below comment was left on the Parks and Rec Facebook page by a mother of two soccer players.
"I am a bit confused.  I am a parent of twin U6 soccer players who just got informed that the Town gave away our practice space, and despite many parents already paying the fees, we don't have a start date for our season.  It was supposed to start Monday the 8th.  Back when the Town wanted the parents of soccer players to vote for the Bond Measure, it was supposedly [because] we did not have enough space for the children.  However, we have enough of our meager space for New York soccer teams?"

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Guest View: LOVE Contributor ~ Our little town is in trouble

Below are just four of the many reasons why our little town is in trouble.

(1) Our Group-Think Town Council is pushing rampant growth
I do not support the pro rampant growth mindset of the current council. I am concerned about political relationships that they have with developers, realtors, etc. I never dreamed that Oro Valley would have 4-5 story buildings.

I strongly feel that the council has evolved into a “group think” situation. This is not a healthy way to do business. It’s unproductive and stagnant. Where is the analysis and counterpoint? Our town needs individual thinkers who can bring fresh and innovative ideas; not people who echo each other. The latter is what I am seeing.

I’m educating myself as much as I can with Oro Valley websites, newspaper articles, and town hall meetings, etc. I’ve actually learned more than I wanted to know. Our little town is in trouble and it starts with the people running it.

(2) Town Council ignores what the majority of citizens want
The purchase of the golf courses followed by the Naranja Park Bond proposal made it transparent that the Town Council doesn’t have an interest in what the majority of citizens want. Post-bond-voting comments made by council members really concern me; words like “we’ll find a way.” The very fact that the bond issue seriously divided the people of Oro Valley to a point of very nasty behaviors was disturbing. There were hidden or subdued plans that surfaced. I was not proud to live in Oro Valley. That’s not the town I chose to move to.

It is also disconcerting to witness a council member “roll eyes” when a resident is speaking during a town hall meeting. That’s very unprofessional and disrespectful to all.

(3) Town Staff manipulates data
I’m also concerned with the Town’s manipulation of data and/or facts. At a recent “Main Street Forum” there was a press release stating that there was an overwhelming positive response to the proposal. Let’s see. According to the Town, approximately 350 people attended the Walk the Block event out of about 42,000 residents. That’s less than 1% of the population. Yet, the headlines said it was highly supported.

The council actually thinks that Oro Valley residents are supporting the Main Streets concept. Wrong. Our local government is deceiving the public with their pro-growth movement. Why? Because their developer campaign contributors are backing them and vice-versa.

I’m really tired of the manipulation of data from surveys and events. It’s wrong and that’s all there is to it.

(4) Oro Valley has become “Traffic Congestion Valley”
Lastly, I’m following the Main Streets Proposal very carefully. I can’t imagine why anyone would want more traffic and congestion at Oracle and First or at Lambert and La Canada. There are already plenty of vacant commercial spaces at Oro Valley Marketplace.

There’s not a small-town, down-home feel to excessive traffic and noise.

……………..

Editor’s Note: Mayor Hiremath and Councilmembers Hornat, Snider, and Waters are up for re-election this year. The primary election is in August. You have the power to change the pro-growth, tax hiking, blade-and–grade-the-desert groupthink that they have subjected us to for the past 8 years. You can vote them out in August.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Reality Is: "Golf Courses Are Closing"

Greg Hanson is a noted sports reporter for the Arizona Daily Star. He writes about many sports. We know, from reading his articles over many years, that Golf is one of his favorites. This past Sunday, Hansen observed, as he has many times, that the sport of golf is simply in decline.

What follows is the entirety of his comment regarding what is the demise of yet another golf course. Greg asks, at the end of the article, "who's next?"

Our fondest desire is that it would be the Town Of Oro Valley Country Club, a facility that benefits very few at a high cost of the many.

Read Greg's article. Then, ponder what is best for you. For example, would you be better served if the land were converted to a beautiful linear park for all to use?  Then consider: How can you can get your message to the "Rock Solid Seven" who currently comprise the Oro Valley Town Council?

Source: Arizona Daily Star
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Monday, February 12, 2018

Editorial ~ Remember when?

Today we will take a trip down Memory Lane to see if the assertions made by the mayor and council regarding the Community Center/Golf Courses have proven to be true or false.

2014 Assertion: The Community Center is a Turnkey Operation (False)
Remember how the Mayor told us about the "turnkey" operation we were getting with the purchase of the Community Center? That "turnkey" operation has already drained $2.45 million from our General Fund Contingency.

2015 Assertion: The sales tax increase will cover all Community Center expenses (False)
Remember being told repeatedly by the Town Council that the Community Center Fund (financed with the dedicated sales tax revenue) would cover ALL the needs of the Community Center including golf and tennis and that NO MONEY would be taken from any other fund? [See “2017 FACT” below to see how that turned out.]

2017 Assertion: The Community Center is not using any other Town funds (False)
Remember Councilmember Steve Solomon stating at the April 19th council meeting:
“The Golf and Community Center revenues and the dedicated half cent sales tax for this year will cover all of its costs. It’s not using any other Town funds. It’s not taking money from any other Town project or Town source.”
Once again, Solomon is full of bluster. Read on to learn why.

2017 FACT: Town dips into Bed Tax Revenues to cover Community Center renovations
The Quarterly CIP Report (Capital Improvement Program) for the quarter ending 12/31/17 revealed that the Tennis Court Improvements were budgeted for $75,000. However, the improvements actually cost $96,323. (This is a 28.4% miscalculation).

Where did the additional funds come from to cover the overage? They came from the Bed Tax Fund! (The tax on hotel rooms).

So now we have another fund supporting this “turnkey” operation. This does not include the monies that Councilmember Rodman stated that we will need to borrow ($4.7 - $5 million) to fulfill the recommendations identified in the Town Manager’s presentation to the Council during the February 7th Golf Study Session. Rodman stated, “We’re going to have to finance this no matter what we do.”

Conclusion
Council assertions about the financial sustainability of the Community Center/Golf Course purchase have been, at best, wishful thinking…and at worst, deliberate lies to cover for their reckless decision to purchase this money pit. 

As a side note, the Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force are no longer going to supplement golf at Davis-Monthan.  The Blanchard Golf Course is closing at the end of April.  The U.S. Government has decided to stop paying $400,000 a year to water the golf courses and to discontinue supplementing the $700,000 a year in golf losses.  For how long will Oro Valley continue to supplement the losses at the El Con Golf Courses?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Editor’s Note: Mayor Hiremath and Councilmembers Hornat, Snider, and Waters are up for re-election this year. These are the four “public servants” who made the disastrous decision to purchase the Community Center (including 31 tennis courts and 3 golf courses) and to increase your sales tax in order to meet the expenses. You will have an opportunity to vote them out of office during the primary election in August.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

TOWN COUNCIL MEETING

Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Town Council Chambers
11,000 La Canada Drive

4:00 PM ~ Golf Study Session
Open to the Public

Presentations by Town Manager, Mary Jacobs and Troon President, Rob DeMore. Also a possible discussion by the mayor and council regarding the future of the Community Center and golf courses.

6:00 PM ~Town Council Regular Session

Pay special attention to:

Consent Agenda, Item E

Resolution…with regard to the approximate 934 acres of State Land (Tangerine South and Tangerine North) the Town intends to pursue annexation, and does not have nor does it intend to adopt, regulations requiring the fencing of open range livestock grazing or prohibiting mining on State Land annexed into the Town.”

The Town claims that this is “a standard formality related to livestock grazing and mining” and that the “Town Staff does not anticipate either of these activities to actually occur on these two parcels.”

You can view the agenda HERE