A Good Idea... Odd Responses
Council Member Mike Zinkin had put forth a motion to allocate $500,000 in reserves to restore the house. This house is, as we reported last week, a centerpiece of the Ranch and could be the beginning of creating something unique for Oro Valley. Zinkin noted:
"Lots of towns have ball fields. Lots of towns have aquatic centers. No place in Arizona, no place in the county has anything that is as unique and defining as Steam Pump Ranch."
The early remarks of Council Members Burns and Ganrer supported the motion.
Council Member Waters, on the other hand, did not support the idea of refurbishing the home because he claims there is no plan for the entire property. Council Member Snider agreed. Council Member Hornat did not like the idea because he saw no necessity: "The house is not falling down."
There is a plan for Steam Pump Ranch. It is called the Master Plan. It was created in 2007-08 and revised in 2011. You can view it here. In addition this council voted $2 Million for ball fields at Naranja Park before there is a plan on what to do with the park. The plan is currently being created. In addition, other structures and roads have been built at the Ranch and there has been no plan in place for that. Thus, the arguments of Snider and Waters that having no plan for Steam Pump Ranch means that nothing should be done until a plan is created and agreed upon simply smacks of political rhetoric and delay.
The most telling discussion of the evening, however, was the exchange between Mayor Hiremath and Council Member Burns. We have provided a video for you. It is a "must see."
Mayor Hiremath had chosen to not address Zinkin's concept. Rather, he used the moment as an opportunity to attack and rebuke the minority for not voting for the 2014-15 budget. In doing so, he mischaracterized their positions, which, as we previously reported, was specific to each council member.
Council Member Burns responded to Hiremath's attack. Burns noted that he had not supported the budget because of its lack of spending for the most needy in our community. At one point Burns noted: "I don't take kindly when you misrepresent what I said or you imply that there is some nefarious reason for not supporting the budget."
During the conversation, Mayor Hiremath had asserted that he supported the historic restoration of Steam Pump Ranch. Burns noted that the council had been talking about this for 4 years. He ad advised Hiremath that, if, indeed this were true: "Put some leadership on this. Say 'I believe in this. I'm not just going to say it. I'm going to deliver on it."
Council Member Zinkin tried move the conversation back to the subject: "This is not about the budget. It is an entirely different conversation."
While Mayor Hiremath seemed to be looking for an argument, Council Member Garner was looking to move the discussion forward. Garner's motion for a study demonstrated leadership. Mayor Hiremath seeking an argument with 3 sitting council members did not.
Can Mayor Hiremath Lead? What Do You Think?
About 4 months ago we spoke at a council meeting. The Zinkin recall attempt, which Mayor Hiremath had led and supported, had failed. At that time, we asked Mayor Hiremath to bring our community together. We asked Mayor Hiremath to be the Mayor of all of us. Rather, he has chosen to continue to divide our community.
We have concluded that Mayor Hiremath is unable to provide leadership that unifies our community. He simply can not put on his "big boy" pants and lead all of us.
What do you think?