Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dr. Don Emmons & 6 Other Council Candidates Respond To Explorer Questions

As we explained in prior posts, our Candidate of Choice for the Oro Valley Council, Dr. Don Emmons, could not attend two prior Candidate Forums. The first was due to a critical family emergency. The second absence was a result of the necessity to be at work as the Chief Surgeon at the Animal Hospital.

Hopefully, our readers who do not know Dr. Don as we do, will be impressed with his answers to the first four questions posed by The Explorer.

Dr. Don is a fiscal conservative. His responses to only these four questions is a good indication why we hope the voters will agree that we need Dr. Don Emmons on the Oro Valley Council.


Read all the candidate's responses here
http://www.explorernews.com/articles/2010/02/03/news/doc4b68b781ea903123133655.txt

21 comments:

Oro Valley Mom said...

"1. What new sources of revenue should Oro Valley examine?

"K.C. Carter: I have mentally kicked around an upscale car marketing unit not like a used car lot but you would order your car by model-specification, etc."

Newsflash, gramps: that marketing unit already exists in Oro Valley and everywhere else on planet Earth. It's called the Internet.

"Hornat: I would consider 'annexations' as a new source of revenue for Oro Valley. I also think we do need to allow the revenue sources we have to grow and foster business."

Hmm. Maybe the part where Hornat explains how "annexations" would be a source of revenue was edited out, along with the part where he explains what we can do to "allow the revenue sources we have to grow." Does that mean increasing the sales and utility tax?

"Mary Snider: "...it will be the council's responsibility to ... examine all new sources of revenue. ...The voters have the right to weigh in."

The voters only have the right to weigh in regarding who gets elected and regarding a new property tax. Other new sources of revenue can be raised without voter approval. That's why it's important that we elect people who understand that and are fiscally responsible.

"Lou Waters: State Revenue Sharing can be increased through annexation — retail sales tax revenue would increase as well. Increased services would be required but failed past attempts at annexation must be re-visited. Looking ahead, Arroyo Grande annexation is a must to maintain the environmental integrity of Oro Valley."

If the past few years have taught us anything, it's that we can't rely on state-shared revenues, which continue to be raided and cut by the state. Similarly, sales tax revenues are dropping as well. We would of course need to weigh any revenue gains from annexation against the cost of providing services to the annexed area. The reason that past annexation attempts failed is because the large landowners--the retail and hotel establishments--wanted tax subsidies. Now that the state supreme court has effectively ruled future subsidies without tangible public benefit to be unconstitutional, it's doubtful as to why large shopping centers or hotels would want to sign up for extra taxes just to be part of Oro Valley.

Oro Valley Mom said...

2. Would you put a property tax question on the ballot for voter approval? Why or why not?

"Joe Hornat: I would craft a tax amendment to be specific as to what we could spend it on, not just hand anyone a blank check for the general fund."

Good thought, but in reality, it doesn't work. General fund moneys are just that--they can be used on anything the town needs.

"Mary Snider:...How should... the council use reserves ($17 million) which are in excess of the required reserve ($7-8 million)?"

Great question. Because you're running for council, you should know the answer. Contingency reserve funds are to be used for one-time or unforseen emergency expenses. Because we face several more years of recession, we won't be putting as much money into the reserve funds, and they will quickly diminish to the required level and possibly below without any help from council members who would like to spend them on recurring expenses instead of cutting costs.

Oro Valley Mom said...

"3. What areas of the budget would you cut?

"K.C. Carter: My approach is to review in detail all of our operations and look at items that are costly and do not produce the desired dollars required to make it a success, Take the department and review the job being done and at what expense to the town. This will take some time, but would streamline the units."

Then why did you vote just last month against doing exactly that: studying the two largest departments?

"Joe Hornat: ...'none.'"

"Mary Snider: ...I would cut no specific items before a workload analysis of various departments is completed, and the impact of any cuts is measured."

Okay, but I thought you said at the library forum that you were against managment studies.

"Lou Waters: Until there's an effort to review funding, line by line, to determine need, that question will have to remain unanswered."

Lou, when you're running for office, you should have already made that effort.

"4. Name two areas of the budget you would cut and two areas of the budget you would protect?

"Lou Waters: Without a thorough review, it's impossible to say. ...it's all about common sense."

Again, Lou, when you're running for office, I would hope that you've already done the thorough review. And if it's all about common sense, then you should be able to answer the question if you have common sense.

artmarth said...

For those of us that believe "OV Mom" makes sense---it looks like the three best candidates for the PEOPLE of Oro Valley are:

Dr. Don Emmons
Matt Rabb
Mark Finchem

We do do worse----a lot worse!!!

travelling dancer said...

I was sorry to see that Dr. Don Emmons was not able to attend the two Candidate Forums, but I did hear him speak in Sun City. He is very articulate and his reponses to the four questions in the Explorer, I thought showed a person who is fiscal responsible, which is somehing we need at this time.

It is my belief that Dr. Don Emmons is a candidate that deserves our support.

Carl said...

Dear co-citizens,

I have watched the debate on here for a while. Many of you call for fiscal responsibility and spending cuts in light of the budget situation. May I ask where you would like the spending to be cut? With one exception I will dig into later I have not heard proposals. The candidates - all of them - seem to be tip-toeing around this question. Dr Emmons', who is obviously a favorite among many posters here, proposition regarding the manager is not an answer to this problem because the impact it would have is less than marginal. The answer I am most likely to hear is to reduce inefficiency. Given the huge deficit, this is an insult to every town worker as they must be not doing anything right ever. Reducing inefficiencies is great, but won't help us in this dire situation.

So why are the candidates not coming forward with concrete proposals? My answer is this: We are all in favor of budget cuts, as long as they don't affect us. If they affect us, we won't vote for the candidate that's proposing them.

The only other option then would be to raise taxes. Well, that affects everybody and would have the same effect for the candidate that came out in favor of it - no vote. How can we ask of our candidates to do the impossible? Now, there are those who know it's impossible and are thus wishy-washy on their answers. I applaud them for their political savvy, although I would rather have straight answers myself. Then there are those like Dr Emmons, who tell us the impossible is possible because a) they either think we are dumb or b) they don't know better themselves. Either option should make us consider if these are the right people for the job. Furthermore, that same person said he would not consider bringing the property tax to a vote because he is against it. That statement is sickening me. If the majority of the voters was in favor of the tax, which I highly doubt, why would a council member be opposed to it. Minority protection makes sense in many areas (civil rights, etc.) but certainly not in fiscal policy.

Returning to an earlier point - I don't claim I have read every article and comment on this blog, but the only specific proposal from a commenter I have read here was regarding cutting police department funding. Well, let's have the town council cut police funding. Guess who will not be elected next term if crime is up?

I am looking forward to everybody's answers and comments.

artmarth said...

Carl-- Thanks for your input.Although I'm not a candidate, I support Dr. Don Emmons and was pleased to see his responses.

Allow me to offer my opinion ---which coincides greatly with that of Dr. Don.

Let's look at the OV budget.

The first thing you should know is the police department is responsible for almost 50% of the WHOLE OV budget. Even the Police Chief was willing to give up six positions, and with a new mayor (Mike Zinkin) that could happen WITHOUT sacrificing safety.

The Building Safety Dep't NEEDS to be cut back. Are you aware that, as a result of less building they have workers with literally no work to do. Believe me, it's true.

Do you have any idea what it costs to put an issue to the voters? Don Emmons knows and that is why he (I and many others) realize it would be a "fool's errand" to ask the voters to tax themselves when doing so would cost OV thousands of dollars with every indication it would go "down in flames."

Getting people in office, such as Bill Garner, Salette Latas & Barry Gillaspie would go a long way in helping get the town's finances in order.

The answer is NOT raiding our contingency fund as Loomis & Carter voted to do, but elect Mike Zinkin & Don Emmons.They both will solve the problem by understanding you don't balance a budget by "stealing" money from a contingency fund. You balance a budget by keeping your expenditures less than your revenue.

The right people in office will do just that. Loomis & Carter are not the right people.

And let's not forget, Oro Valley is NOT a philanthropic organization. Don't give away money you don't have. A few hundred thousand here, a few hundred thousand there. Pretty soon, it adds up to a tidy sum.

Art

Oro Valley Mom said...

Carl,

You ask, "May I ask where you would like the spending to be cut?"

Let's see. I don't know that we need to be providing School Resource Officers to elementary schools or even middle schools. We, as Oro Valley taxpayers, are providing free security to the Amphi School District, which levies property taxes, which Oro Valley does not. Other schools in the Amphi School District seem to survive without School Resource Officers in elementary schools and middle schools.

You say, "Dr Emmons' [sic], who is obviously a favorite among many posters here, proposition regarding the manager is not an answer to this problem because the impact it would have is less than marginal."

I don't know Dr. Emmons. I don't know if I'll vote for him. But when Loomis, Carter, et. al., voted to dismiss the dedicated town manager, it cost the taxpayers of Oro Valley about $200,000 in severance pay and search costs that were completely unnecessary. That's about three entry-level police officers with benefits. And it's happening all over:

http://www.azcentral.com/community/chandler/articles/2010/01/29/20100129cr-manager0130.html

The fact is, the town manager proposed making cuts that would save taxpayer dollars and Loomis, Carter, et. al. did not have the cojones to make the cuts. They would rather raise taxes. It's as simple as that.

I know this. I will not vote for any candidates who have sold their souls ahead of time to any special interest group, be it a union or a political action committee or whatever. So the only candidates I can even consider right now are Zinkin, Rabb, and Emmons.

Zev Cywan said...

Simple question:
Why is the blogmaster here so SET on conveying that Dr. Don Emmons has such unique qualifications that he could contribute in 'righting' this town? My read (as well as past interaction with the person in question)indicates that Dr. Emmons responses are simply canned. Sorry, Art.

artmarth said...

Zev-- You ask about Dr. Don Emmon's "unique" qualifications.

Zev--Let me respond this way.

Don got into this race because he stood up and was so offended by the actions of Loomis, Carter, Kunisch & Abbott in terminating David Andrews.

I support Dr. Don on that.

Don is adamantly against a Property Tax without any justification.

I support Dr.Don on that.

Don is fiscally responsible and knows you don't spend money you don't have.

I support Dr. Don on that.

Don supports the candidacy of Mike Zinkin.

I too support Mike Zinkin.

Don has no responsibility to ANY Special Interest Group---unlike most of the other candidates.

I support Don on that.

Dr. Don Emmons knows the General Plan, having read it all. He knows Planning & Zoning issues. He know financial issues. He is unpretentious, a good listen, and a viable candidate.

I believe Dr. Don Emmons is the type of individual that will work hard to support the people of Oro Valley.

Finally, I have no idea what you mean by "canned responses." I trust Dr. Don and his words.

Zev said...

Art, you should know what I mean by canned responses; it's comparable to what is referred to as a 'canned sales presentation'- crafted, standardized, and monotonized. Just because Dr. Don gives these responses does not mean that his qualifications are "unique" nor should I be impressed by them. You are well aware that I have been in his extended presence on two different occasions; frankly I was very underwhelmed that he could be a good choice. In addition I had a communication from him some time ago, I answered, he ignored. So, through it all I have my opinion(s). I believe that Dr. Emmons most probably is a good person, I cannot see him as my good representative. I believe that there are several other candidates who are much more in tune with the necessary workings of a community as a whole.

artmarth said...

Zev--- You can obviously choose to vote for whichever candidate(s) you choose, but you seem to be arguing with yourself.

You wrote:
"Why is the blogmaster here so SET on conveying that Dr. Don Emmons has such unique qualifications ---?"

I NEVER used the word "UNIQUE" to describe Dr. Don or his qualifications.

I only responded to you by pointing out that Don's "canned" responses are in line with my thinking.

You then responded again by stating:

"Just because Dr. Don gives these responses does not mean that his qualifications are "unique" nor should I be impressed by them."

Dr. Don is a Candidate for Council that I support. You obviously are not.

Victorian Cowgirl said...

Just looking at this first question, I noticed that all the candidates actually answered the question, giving SPECIFICS, except for Mary Snider.

I've shortened their answers down to their SPECIFIC answer to the question.

WHAT NEW SOURCES OF REVENUE SHOULD ORO VALLEY EXAMINE?

CARTER: New business, upscale cars.

EMMONS: History shows that if we increase revenues from new sources, we also increase expenditures. We have to get expenditures under control FIRST.

FINCHEM: New business development and small business growth.

HORNAT: Annexations.

RABB: Smart business growth and development.

WATERS: Annexation.

Now look at Snider's answer:

SNIDER: Oro Valley is facing a projected shortage of both state-shared revenues and local sales tax revenue over the next several years. Should these projections be realized, it will be the council's responsibility to exercise their due diligence and examine all new sources of revenue. Examination is not implementation. The voters have the right to weigh in.

At what point in her answer does she actually tell us what new sources of revenue we should consider?

Yes, I'm aware that Emmons also didn't tell us what new sources of revenue we should consider either, however, he DID explain that we shouldn't be looking for new revenue sources until AFTER we get expenditures under control, because at that point, we may not NEED new revenue sources.

All Snider said (breaking it down) was that the council should consider all new sources of revenue.

Zev said...

Art, you write:
"Dr. Don is obviously a Candidate for Council that I support. You obviously are not". Did you mean that [I (Zev) am not supporting Dr. Don for Council] and that you are not supporting me for same? Please read and clarify your own statement; for someone who might not know that I am not running for Council, your verbiage could be confusing. If you simply meant that you are supporting Dr. Don and I am not supporting Dr. Don, you are correct. However, one of the points I was trying to make is that your list of Dr. Don's attributes, as you state them, are quite simplistic and, for me, an overstatement relative to his qualifications and/or potential while you are dismissive towards others who might, just might have been involved within the community to make them worthwhile to serve us. I don't look for people who simply agree with my views, I look for those who can interchange ideas; it appears that you and Dr. Don are 'joined at the hip'.

Incidentally, I do agree that Mike Zinken is the best choice for the Mayoral position but probably not for the same reasons that you might think. Mike is a creative thinker and appears not to have allegiance to anyone or anything other than beneficial ideas for moving the TOV towards a better end.

Zev said...

Art and audience, just one other commentary: I have taken the opportunity to speak with each and EVERY candidate for a Council seat IN DEPTH; this is what I base my own assessments on. Little snippets derived from forums and cherry picked publications of portions of interviews give very little reality to the whole. Remember, people or things aren't always what they may seem to be especially through heresay. I encourage each and every person within this community to try and gather as much information as they can, interact with the candidates, if they can, discuss personally impressions with others, and THEN, through your personal deductive reasoning, alight on your own conclusions.

OinStarr said...

Zev,

Spot on!

John Martin said...

I have read the blog for some time with interest, but now feel compelled to respond.

In ticking off his reasons for supporting Don Emmons, Art lists a number of criteria.

I quote: “Don has no responsibility to ANY Special Interest Group---unlike most of the other candidates.”

Does the LOVE Blog not consider itself a special interest?

It has a special platform from which to air its views. Its proprietors have vetted candidates and chosen to throw their weight behind its favored candidates’ campaigns. The blog uses the full weight of its resources (posting candidates’ campaign materials, publicizing their appearances, even creating a unique campaign video Q&A for Mike Zinkin) to get its favored candidates elected.

It appears that Don Emmons and Mike Zinkin do have a responsibility to the proprietors and avid readers of the LOVE Blog. Both men must tow the LOVE Blog party line or risk losing its support. They have tethered their political fortunes to the preference of one group over others.

All of this, mind you, is not meant as a form of criticism. The LOVE Blog can support any candidate of its choosing and campaign on those candidates’ behalf.

In political science terms, interest groups share a desire to affect government policy to benefit themselves or their cause. The LOVE Blog has on numerous occasions stated its desire to support candidates who oppose a property tax, economic incentives to induce business developments or donating tax dollars to outside groups. The LOVE Blog community has committed itself to this common cause. The fact that this community seeks to influence the election only affirms its status as a special interest group.

Thanks for your comments.

artmarth said...

Hi John--We're pleased that you finally felt compelled to offer your opinion.

I might also say, it's nice to respond to a person, not a pseudonym, but that's an individual's choice.

Now, to the issue you raise.

You can certainly consider our blog "a special interest," but, in addition to trying to disseminate information to our Oro Valley neighbors (and other readers,) we also use the blog to express our positions on issues.

If you are a long time reader, you probably are aware that we supported Bill Garner & Salette Latas for OV Council in the 2008 election. We like to believe we helped get, what we believe are two of the brightest, caring, and hardest workers on the council elected. We couldn't be more proud of both Bill & Salette, and the way they serve their constituents.

Now---- as to this election. Once again, we are proud to support Mike Zinkin for Mayor & Dr. Don Emmons for Council.

Are Bill & Salette obligated to vote as we see fit? Obviously, "no."

Do we expect Mike and/or Don, if elected to be obligated to us? Unequivocally, "no!"

What we do expect, is for Miker & Dr. Don to follow in the footsteps of Bill & Salette.

We don't expect them to be beholden to us in any sense whatsoever, other than doing what is best for the vast majority of Oro Valley residents.

If that's being a "Special Interest," then, so be it.

Just to clarify one point--- the "proprietors" of the Love blog are me (Art) & "The Zeeman." We are just two senior citizens doing what we believe is a service to the community. Surely, there are those out there that feel otherwise, but, although we have our detractors, we believe we have many more advocates.

Thanks again for expressing your views.

Art

Zev said...

John Martin,

Whereas I do support Mike Zinkin for Mayor I do not support Dr. Don Emmons for a position on council. I have been a party to in-depth 'elbowing' with both individuals and can assure you that, in my opinion, Mike is his own person; I am not so certain that Dr.Don Emmons is.

I have posted on this blog for some time now; this does not mean that I follow any kind of a 'party line' and, in fact, I have been in opposition to some of the ways subject matter is and has been handled by the blogmasters. They do, however have the right to endorse those candidates they might choose to. Obviously they have their biases but that is their right also.

Victorian Cowgirl said...

When I think of the term "Special Interest Group," I think of a group/organization that has the ability to raise a lot of money to help get their candidate elected. Then, when that candidate wins, they feel an allegiance to that special interest group, partly because of all the money that was raised on their behalf and partly because they will want that group to raise money for them again when they run for RE-ELECTION.

This blog does not raise money for any candidate.

artmarth said...

Thank you "Cowgirl" for the last point.

As the town of OV determined, we werenot required to form any sort of PAC inasmuch as we do not do anything remotely involving money, either coming in or going out.

Hopefully, that in itself differentiates us from PACs, such as police & firefighter unions, and the likes of other organizations that not only endorse other candidates, but make cash contributions to their campaigns.

Where do our readers believe the money for these other candidates came from? Soon, a record of contributions will be made public.

You will NOT see Mike Zinkin or Dr. Don Emmons as recipients for any of these funds.

As I mentioned, they will be beholden to ONLY the people of Oro Valley.