Here's what Candidate Hiremath wrote in 2010:
"Oro Valley has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in updating and ratifying its General Plan. If for financial reasons only, the Town should begin to – as the Plan states in its Preamble – follow and consistently apply it. The General Plan represents the Will of the People, and needs to be a critical part of deliberation over fiscal, cultural, and economic requirements."
Mayor Hiremath changed is mind once in office. He has stated repeatedly at council meetings that the general plan is a guideline. At no time during his tenure as Mayor has he ever referred to the general plan as being the "...critical part of any deliberation" that he stated he was in his 2010 issues statement.
"It is a policy document hat should be used as a guideline.... Like any document, it is open to interpretation. You have to use that not just as that sole piece but you gotta in context with the larger piece."
At that forum, Mayor Hiremath used the Environmentally Sensitive Land Ordinance (ESLO) as an example of how he has implemented the General Plan. Mayor Hiremath was correct when he stated: "Under my tenure we ratified the ESLO." His remark would lead one to think that he had something to do with the ESLO.
Was Mayor Hiremath misleading us? We think so. Mayor Hiremath had nothing to do with the ESLO other than voting for it.
These are the facts:
- The ESLO was required by element 11.2.7 of the 2005 General Plan.
- It was put on the 'back burner' until Council Member Barry Gillaspie rekindled it, fearing that time was not on the side of ever creating such a plan give the nature of the 2007-8 recession and a push, by the development community, to reduce restrictions.
- None of the Majority-4, including Mayor Hiremath, ever worked on any of the ESLO.
- The ESLO was the work of many people, including Council Member Barry Gillaspie and resident, then Planning and Zoning Commission member, Bill Adler. Neighborhood meetings were held in 2009. The town had an ESLO technical advisory committee that included Carolyn Campbell; Arizona Sonoran Desert Coalition; John Windes, Arizona Game and Fish Department; Sherry Ruther, Pima County Environmental Planning Manager; and Scott Richardson, US Fish&Wildlife Service.
- Voting on the ESLO had been pulled from the January agenda, though Council Members Garner and Gillaspie (and, yes, then Council Member Solomon) have motioned to consider it then. At that time, the Majority-4 weren't ready to approve it. The "environment heavies" had to weigh in to get it passed.
- The ESLO was approved unanimously by council on February 16, 2011, after being "watered down" by appointed Council Member Solomon. Council Member Gillaspie, working with Solomon, was trouble by the compromises made at the end, but he felt that it was more important to have an ESLO than to not.
- The Majority-4, and the rest of council, approved a "watered-down" ESLO on February 16, 2011.
Is this the best example of implementing the general plan that Mayor Hiremath has? Is there nothing else that he can use to illustrate how, during his tenure, he has considered the general plan "... as a critical part of deliberations" as he had claimed he would in 2008?
If it is his best example, then he has nothing to point to that shows how he as implemented the general plan. Perhaps the reason he has no example is because, to Mayor Hiremath, the general plan is merely a guide to be interpreted as one wishes.
Watch the video linked above to learn how the other candidates feel about whether General Plan is blueprint or a guide.
What do you think?