Monday, June 23, 2014

Guest View-Diane Peters: Prima Donnas and Thugs... Oh My!

This Guest View will review the history behind Council Member Garner’s recent comments about the Oro Valley Police Department ("OVPD") and the Oro Valley Police Officers Association  ("OVPOA").

Let’s begin with Stan Winetrobe’s speech during the Call to Audience at the council meeting of May 21. The half dozen speakers who went before him each received applause at the end of their presentation. This caused Mr. Winetrobe to begin his presentation by stating, “Now I’m going to feel depressed if they don’t clap for me.”

And here’s where it got interesting…and very revealing. The Mayor and Council responded as follows:
Mayor Hiremath: “Yeah! Ha, ha, ha!!! I knew that was going to happen, Stan.”
Council Member Joe Hornat: (Also laughing) “Stan, we’re not here to deal with your personal issues!”
Council Member Mary Snider: “We knew you could take it!”
It was clear from their comments that they all knew Mr. Winetrobe personally. Rather than wearing a “poker face” while Winetrobe spoke, so as not to give the impression that perhaps they had orchestrated his speech, they couldn’t contain their desire to let everyone know that they were good friends with him. They reminded me of a bunch of insecure teenagers so desperate to be considered popular.

Cards on the table. Stan Winetrobe is a friend of Mary Snider’s. He volunteered to collect signatures for last winter's failed Zinkin Recall effort. It’s clear that they all know him personally. Additionally, just four weeks prior to his Call to Audience speech, Winetrobe received the ‘Citizen of the Year Award’ at the Oro Valley Police Department Awards Banquet. Could his opinions be a tad biased?

If Councilmember Garner’s comments were so horrible, they would have instigated a spontaneous citizen backlash and negated the need of the Majority-4 to encourage their friends to speak during the Call to Audience. (Winetrobe isn’t the only friend of theirs who has spoken on this topic.) An orchestrated backlash reveals that the actual backlash was minimal at best.

Now let’s look at what Councilmember Garner actually said:
 ”Unfortunately, this department is a prima donna department. It tries to put candidates forward sympathetic to it so its interests can go unchecked. It’s union politics and thuggery that goes on.”
Was Garner wrong?

During his speech, Winetrobe asked Garner, “Where is your proof that the Oro Valley Police Department tries to put forth its own candidates or is that just hearsay?"

It’s not hearsay, Mr. Winetrobe, and here’s the proof you requested.

Here is some of the history behind Council Member Garner’s assertion.

(1) In May 2004, The Arizona Conference of Police and Sheriff’s ("AZCOPS") posted the following statement on their website under the heading, “Clean Sweep in Oro Valley.”
“Realizing that we could be litigating against the Town for years, AZCOPS and the Oro Valley POA decided to replace the city council in the next election. This is a fundamental AZCOPS principle, we first try to work with you, if you refuse, we will take you out. Now that we have cleaned house in the Oro Valley town council, the next victims of the AZCOPS ‘broom’ will be the Town Manager and City Attorney.”
Cards on the table. AZCOPS is the parent organization of the OVPOA. The carefully chosen words and phrases of their statement reek of union politics and thug-speak.

Was Garner wrong?

(2) Additionally, we’ve all repeatedly seen how the OVPD endorses certain candidates for council and that those candidates, if elected, consistently vote for everything that the OVPD wants. Wouldn’t this indicate that the motive of the OVPD in endorsing certain candidates is to make certain that its interests go unchecked?  In fact, that is exactly what this blog posted March 3 regarding the OVPD playbook.

Was Garner wrong?

(3) There was a brief time when the OVPD reported to the Town Manager rather than to the Town Council. David Andrews was the Town Manager during that time. As such, he was the only Town Manager to oversee the police budget and, big surprise, he was targeted by the police union. In September 2009, the police union began a smear campaign against Andrews who was forced to resign on September 23, 2009. You can read all about it here: URGENT! Oro Valley Council May Bow to Police Union Demands to Fire Our Town Manager, David Andrews…and here: Why and How Loomis wanted David Andrews Removed as Oro Valley Town Manager, Part 2.

Was Garner wrong?

I don't think so.

What do you think?
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.

1 comment:

Richard Furash, MBA said...

I often feel the majority has orchestrated speakers. When faced with the facts, it is hard to deny the truth in Mr. Garner's statement. It seems this type of police behavior is happening across the nation in small towns and large cities.