Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Explorer Opines On Steve Solomon Appointment To Oro Valley Council

We certainly acknowledge that the business community were all smiles with the appointment of Mr. Solomon to the town council.

We'll wait and see if the average citizens will be as jovial with this appointment.

Smiles of amazement

By Dave Perry, The Explorer

People in the Oro Valley business community wore smiles of amazement last week, after the Oro Valley Town Council appointed a businessman – a developer, no less – to complete an open term on the town council.

Steve Solomon, the longtime resident known for high-quality home building and ambitious thinking, is a card-carrying member of the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association.

He's been critical at times of Oro Valley's development review processes and fees. Now, moving forward, he can actually do something about perceived delays and unfair treatment.

It's a bold move by the governing board, which was not unanimous — nor need it be — in making the choice. Mayor Satish Hiremath and the new council picked Solomon over 18 other hopefuls, among them a past mayor, several past council members and plenty of others with the skills and passion to do the work.

Oro Valley has had a reputation for being less than "business-friendly." Evidence in support of that opinion is, at best, anecdotal. Still, the perception exists, and Solomon's appointment, along with the seating of three other new people on the governing board, can send a different signal to the business community.

As in "Oro Valley, open for business."


The Zee Man said...

"Still, the perception exists, and Solomon's appointment, along with the seating of three other new people on the governing board, can send a different signal to the business community".

I really dislike lazy journalists. And the editor of the Explorer, Dave Perry, is among the laziest. In fact, I wonder if he's a journalist at all?

First, Dave Perry, please get your facts right. Its four other new people on the governing board, including Mayor Hiremath. He is also a member of the governing board.

Secondly, exactly, what different signal does this send to the business community? It would be good for him to spell it out; or does he simply want his readers to guess at it. That's lazy journalism.

Fact is, the new Council will be hard-pressed to stray far from a "sensible" Oro Valley growth model, one that balances the vision of the General Plan, with the needs of business and residents.

In addition, the US economy and the low-wage economy of Tucson, both of which are projected to remain moribund for the foreseeable future, are going to dictate how much construction can take place in town. Fact is: No sensible contractor will build homes that he can't sell.

The message I took away from the election was that people wanted change and change is what they voted. The message that I got from the appointment of Solomon is that the Council, in total, felt he was qualified to complete Salette Latas' term.

The new Council will put its stamp on Oro Valley. Let's not guess at what that might be. Instead, let's see what they do.

Astute Gal said...

Agreeing with the Zee Man. At the present time, there is little "developable" land in OV--mostly small in-fill developments and the opportunity for more light industry.
We should keep our eye on the ball, which is the potential annexation of the area to the north. This is where sensible planning can help preserve the natural landscape while also allowing for inevitable growth (that OV should control, not Pima or Pinal counties).

Palomino said...

I thought Solomon presented himself well at the council meeting last night (6/16) but was dismayed that he made a motion to put the sign code discussion on an upcoming agenda rather than wait until September for the sign code committee to present their report.

As a side note, I noticed that when Bill Adler was speaking, Hiremath admonished him to be "respectful" when addressing the council yet Hiremath said nothing when Hornat was being disrespectful to Garner during an earlier discussion. Garner asked Hornat for clarification on a motion he made saying something like...Did you mean blah blah blah?...and Hornat answered "Noooooooo, that's not what I said." His whiny disrespectful tone did not go unnoticed by this observer. Garner again asked for clarification of the motion and this time Hornat answered with "I didn't saaaaay that." Again with the disrespectful-condescending tone.

Kudos to Garner for remaining civil throughout the discussion. Hiremath needs to have a talk with Hornat about his demeanor.

Zev Cywan said...

Council Member Soloman for whom I have a great deal of respect was allowed to attend one of the Task Force meetings as an 'arm' in conjunction with a presentation given by SAHBA. As I am on said Task Force as a Citizen Participant I will have no other comment at this time other than, among other viewpoints that I intend to present to Council at this scheduled meeting, I will ask that Council Member Solomon recuse himself from this issue for the reasons that he was allowed to attend one of the meetings on behalf of SAHBA, was allowed to participate at such, and that therefor I would propose that he most probably could be considered to have a 'conflict of interest' in this matter.

Palomino said...


When you say Task Force, are you referring to the Sign Code committee? Or is there another Task Force committee that Solomon attended? I'm looking for clarification on where the conflict of interest may lie.

I think it was an Arizona Star article that mentioned that Solomon would not submit any development plans while a member of the council so as not to create a conflict of interest in those matters. But is there also a possible sign code conflict of interest?

Zev Cywan said...

Palomino: It IS the 'Sign Code Task Force' and I believe that there might be a conflict of interest if Council Member Solomon were allowed to participate in any kind of determination relative to an 'adjustment' to the present code. He was a participant as an 'arm' of SAHBA in a meeting, was allowed to listen, was allowed to speak, was allowed to give argument, and, as a result and in finality, he was allowed to hear recommendations of the 'Force' that will be included in the September presentation to Council; his participation was that of a presenter NOT as a member of this 'committee'.

I personally believe that his heart might be in the right 'place' but that his proffered 'relief' solutions are not.

I will be giving a presentation before Council that will address his (and others') concerns and will offer an alternative to any kind of a reckless abandonment of the sign code (an implementation of the General Plan) even if such abandonment might be only as a temporary measure.


artmarth said...

Anyone that either attended the June 16 council meeting or watched the streaming video knows that Solomon saw fit to add the "sign code" issue to the next council meeting in July as Palomino noted.

His comment was basically that he didn't want to have to wait until the committee meets and makes its recommendations.

There would be no necessity to recuse himself if HE didn't put this item on the new business agenda.

Is anyone surprised that Solomon is a "Special Interest" Council Member?

Zev Cywan said...

Art, I didn't see it as an integral 'part' of the 'Sign Code Task Force' agenda but as a separate item which, in itself, needed two sponsors in order to get it on the agenda; this was the reason Council Member Hornat joined in sponsorship. Otherwise, this item seemingly could not have become agendized.Therefor it is my belief that this IS a separate item and new business, not a continuation of a 'previous' one. Whether or not Council Member Solomon must recuse himself because of his involvement with the Task Force as an 'arm' of SAHBA will, most probably, be left to an interpretation by the Town Attorney.

Palomino said...


Thanks for the clarification on Solomon. I'm still neutral on him at this point so I think watching how he handles the sign code issue will tell us alot about his character/integrity. I've heard mixed reviews on this guy so I've decided to just sit back and observe him for awhile and draw my own conclusions after a reasonable amount of time.

artmarth said...

Palomino--- That sounds reasonable.

But how about this? Do you (or anyone else) believe that the voters would have voted a developer on to the council?

I think not.

Therefore, what does it say about the four new members who saw fit to bypass---as Mayor Hiremath put it---many totally qualified people that submitted their names for consideration and vote for Solomon?

I guess, you can take the same approach with these four----wait and see, and then form your opinion.

As for Zev's comment, no argument from us.

Palomino said...


I should clarify my position. Although I'm neutral on Solomon (for now) I also thought that the voters would not have voted for a developer if given the chance. And this made me question the sincerity of Hiremath, etc. when they say things like they "respect" the voters and they want to hear from them and get a "feel" for what this community wants, and then they go and appoint a developer to fill Latas's seat.

Am I to believe that hundreds of citizens phoned or e-mailed them asking them to appoint a developer to that seat?

I also thought, if memory serves, that Latas won that seat in a landslide in the primary. If I'm correct on this, then I'd say that the voters sent a very strong message about the kind of representation they wanted on the council, so if the new council was really sincere about listening to their constituents, then they wouldn't have replaced Latas with a developer. The whole thing seemed very unsavory to me. It's as if H-H-W-S thumbed their noses at all of Latas's supporters.

artmarth said...

Palomino--- The bottom line is this: Rhetoric is worthless. Action speaks volumes.

Hopefully the people will judge this council by their actions.

It's easy for the new mayor to say things such as we respect the people and their views.

It quite another thing to then take action that totally negates that point.

Zev Cywan said...

I do not think it is fruitful to take ALL of ANY one particular segment of our society and declare them as being a bad thing. Some of this stream seems to indicate that simply being a developer marks any member of such profession as being off-limits to being suitable as a potential valued representative of the Community as a whole. Yes, for ANYONE there might be a 'tilt' towards one favorite entity or another; there were in the past, there continues to be now, and there will be more in the future. That's life in a free society. Let's not put people in boxes and arbitrarily label them; that just isn't right!