Sunday, April 11, 2010

Another Good Reason To Vote For Mike Zinkin & Only Matt Rabb

John Musolf tells us why candidates supported by Special Interest Groups can cost Oro Valley residents a "pretty penny."

Another reason to vote for Mike Zinkin for Mayor & ONLY Matt Rabb for Council.


The Real Purpose Behind Amending Resolution R07-126, “Community Funding” on April 7, 2010 Council Meeting was for “Special Interests”.

Originally, the Community Funding Policy and Procedure (Resolution 07-106) was put into place in 2007 to have a standard, uniform, and equally fair method for all community organizations to apply for public funding. These were covered under Financial Participation Agreements (FPA).

All FPA funding was suspended for FY2010/2011 in November 2009 to balance the budget.

This cut-off of Public Funding deeply concerned two “special interest” groups: Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau (MTCVB) and Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities (TREO) that were under Community Funding.

Not to worry! A different approach would be found to continue the tax “earmarks” for selected “special interest” groups.

At the Town budget retreat on January 23, 2010 Mayor Loomis suggested that MTCVB and TREO should get some funding under an Economic Development Approach (EDA).

On January 27, 2010 at the Town Council meeting, Mayor Loomis made a motion, seconded by Councilman Al Kunisch, to add a study session for a “new” economic development process. That study session was scheduled for March 24, 2010.
Full Disclosure: Mayor Paul Loomis who made the motion to create a study session on a “new” Economic Development process was a board member of TREO until January 28, 2010. Councilman Al Kunisch who seconded the motion was the council liaison to MTCVB (until his resignation from Town Council).

At the March 24, 2010 study session, Loomis had “special interest” agencies MTCVB and TREO appear to “testify” that they needed tax “earmarks” under a “new” EDA process to get their funding restored for FY 2010/2011.

At the March 24, 2010 Council Meeting, Lynn Ericksen, Hilton General Manager, acted as a “spokesman” for MTCVB . The Hilton is a partner and board member of MTCVB. Mr. Ericksen stated in the meeting that MTCVB told him they would cut off sales leads to the Hilton if the Town cut off funding to MTCVB.

Why? The real reason for the cut-off of sales leads from the MTCVB to the Hilton. MTCVB depends on large public funding from Tucson and Pima County. If one little town (Oro Valley) can opt out of an agreement with MTCVB then it might provide a precedent for Tucson and Pima County to opt out. So, MTCVB made open threats to the Town (through Lynn Ericksen) that the Hilton and the Town would suffer financial loss if MTCVB got cut off.

Salette Latas brought up the example of where the Ritz Hotel in Marana had booked a major convention and was so oversubscribed that excess customers will stay at the Omni and be bussed over to the Ritz. Marana and the Ritz accomplished this without the use of MTCVB.
At the April 7, 2010 Town Council Meeting a Resolution 10-23 was passed to create a separate line item in the Economic Development budget through which the Council could allocate funding to economic development agencies if they so choose. This option would remove the allocation of funding for economic development agencies from Community Funding Process thereby providing council the discretion to allocate funding for these agencies during the annual budget process (MTCVB and TREO were these agencies).

The “new” approach “opens the door” for these special interests to obtain public funding. The Council approved this Resolution with no suggested economic development agency policy and procedure to handle the “new” tax “earmarks”.

So much for representing the interests of the people of Oro Valley!

John Musolf


Victorian Cowgirl said...

I watched most of the April 7th meeting from home but missed the part on this resolution. Which council members voted for this resolution? Was anyone opposed?

artmarth said...

Cowgirl--- The motion passed 6-0 but from my perspective, it was a "compromise vote," and probably the best that could have been expected.

I agree with John, and would have preferred a 3-3 stalemate vote---but that didn't happen.