During the Call to Audience at the May 7th council meeting, five citizens gave their opinions regarding comments made by Councilmembers Garner and Zinkin who dared to criticize the Oro Valley Police Department ("OVPD") in the April 17th edition of the Arizona Daily Star. Three of the five speakers were law enforcement officers.
Terry Parish (Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy and former Oro Valley Town Council member) said that Zinkin and Garner have forgotten why they became council members. He said they’re supposed to “serve the community” and “raise the community up” rather than “drag the community through the mud in the newspaper.”
If he truly believes this, then why didn’t he speak out when Mayor Hiremath wrote a Christmas Day rant in the local newspaper that was filled with nothing but contempt and mudslinging? Mudslinging on Christmas Day! Parish was silent despite his claims of being a devout Christian. Why didn’t he speak out about the malevolent signs that were posted all over town for weeks asserting that Councilmember Zinkin “degrades women?” That’s also mudslinging, is it not? How did those malicious signs “raise the community up?”
He also claimed that because Oro Valley was named one of the top 8 safest suburbs in the nation, that Garner’s derogatory comments about the OVPD have “zero credibility.” I fail to see the connection. You can have a police department filled with prima donna’s and thugs and still have a safe community. Our community is safe partly because of the diligence of the police department and partly because of our demographics, a factor that the OVPD worshippers always overlook. They insist that it’s solely because of the police department. The only way to prove that theory is to transfer every OVPD police officer to South Tucson and see if South Tucson suddenly becomes one of the safest communities in the nation.
Parish closed his speech by admitting that it is the job of the council to ask questions about the budget.
Marshall Morris (President of the Oro Valley Police Officers Association)claimed that the Arizona Daily Star article showed that Zinkin and Garner have a complete lack of respect and understanding of what the OVPD do. If that’s true, could it be because when they ask questions of the OVPD, they often do not get answers, only deflections and attacks on their character and abilities? If Morris truly believes that these councilmembers do not respect the OVPD or understand the demands of a police officer’s job, then isn’t this a compelling reason to turn police oversight over to the Town Manager? Officer Morris seems to want to have it both ways. He wants police oversight to be handled by the council while claiming that some members of the council are ill-equipped to handle that oversight.
He also stated that Council Members Garner and Zinkin don’t attend a lot of town events. That’s because, despite Terry Parish’s assertions, Zinkin and Garner have not forgotten why they became council members. It’s not to attend ribbon cuttings and tree lightings. They are paid to represent the interests of the citizens…the taxpayers.
Councilmembers who attend countless “town events” do so only for their own self-serving interests. They like to hob-nob. They like to make connections that they can use in the future. They’re looking for photo ops. People who shine from within don’t have an incessant need to be in the spotlight. While others are attending frivolous town events, Councilmembers Garner and Zinkin are reading and researching documents in preparation for council meetings. As a result, they show up at those meetings well-prepared.
Morris also stated that Zinkin and Garner miss more council meetings than the others. FACT: With the exception of missing one study session, Council Member Zinkin has not missed one council meeting since he was elected. And on the occasion when Council Member Garner is unable to be there in person, he attends the meetings via conference call.
Perhaps it’s time for these law enforcement officers to take their own advice and stop slinging mud and false accusations at two of the hardest working members of the Town Council.
Diane Peters has lived in Oro Valley since 2003, moving here to escape the humidity of the East Coast. Combining her love of animals and writing, she wrote her first protest letter at the age of 12 to the Canadian Prime Minister in support of ending the annual baby harp seal hunt. Years later, she flew by helicopter to the ice floes off the coast of Newfoundland where she was able to pet baby harp seals recently born on the frozen tundra. Her other interests include reading, nature photography, traveling to National Parks, Native American history, art galleries, museums, and following politics. In her past life, she worked in medical research at various University Hospitals in New England, including coordinating Oncology Clinical Trials and preparing manuscripts for publication in medical journals. Her husband is an Army veteran who served in Germany and South Korea. A former hippie, he attended the 1969 Woodstock Festival in Upstate New York.