Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Separate Fact from Spin At Tonight's Candidate Forum

Tonight, the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce and the local advertising circular  will host a candidate forum (See right panel for details).  It is the 3rd of 4 forums.  Both sponsoring organizations have been heavy supporters of the incumbents. The local advertising circular, for example, ran a recall Zinkin ad next to a posting by Zinkin explaining his position.  And the Chamber lives off the largess of the town.  So, really, we don't expect the challengers to be given much of a chance.

Still, we think that is it important to set the record straight regarding assertions made by candidates at last week's SunCity Oro Valley Forum since we may hear these again:

False Assertion: There Is No Division On Council Because Most Votes Have Been 7-0
Fact: One Measures Disharmony By Displayed Actions and Attitudes, Not By Votes. Besides,  Most Council Votes Are "No Brainers"

Whether or not there is divisiveness and a lack of civility on the part of the Majority-4 can not be measure by "vote counts."   Divisiveness is measured by actions. The actions of the Majority-4 for the past 2 years demonstrates an effort to divide and not harmonize the council.  They think that there are no consequences when they try to recall Council Member Zinkin, marginalize the ideas of Council Member Garner, and intimidate Council Member Burns with impunity.

The only ideas the Majority-4 accept are their own. They never consider ideas of the minority.  For example, the minority, seeking to understand options for future revenue sources, and there are many options beyond a property tax, sought to put the item up for discussion. They were voted down by the Majority-4.  Something is wrong when only some of the ideas are considered.

The Majority-4 wants to convince you to measure "divisiveness" by votes cast at council meetings.  They asserted this at the SunCity Forum.  According to them, 59% of the votes cast in council meetings from June 2012 to July 2014 were 7-0 votes.

There have been 15, 4-3 votes.  If the vote count has any validity as a measure of division, it is not only in the number of 4-3 votes.  It is in the quality of the no votes. The no votes concerned important matters like:
  • Approval of a Master Sign Plan for El Dorado 
  • Reappointment to CDRB (was this the Gil Alexander hearing?) 
  • Reimbursement from the general fund for TEP underground lines 
  • A Platt amendment for single family home 
  • Changing the Chief of Police Reporting Structure 
  • General Plan Amendment for Vistoso Highlands 
  • Election of Vice Mayor Waters
  • Oro Valley Personnel Policy 
  • 2014/2015 Budget Adoption of Final Budget
The "3" no-votes are all of the minority.  

Division? You think? Repeat: All the no votes are always those of the minority.

We conclude that, by any, measure, qualitative or quantitative, there is great division on this council. As a result, the voices of those who support the minority are never heard.

False Assertion: Minority Council Members Voted Against Home Rule
Fact: All  7 Council Members Voted To Put Home Rule On The Ballot

Incumbent candidate Mayor Satish Hiremath dropped this one at last weeks SunCity Oro Valley Forum:
"Keep in mind, there are members of this council, who are not up for reelection who voted 'no' on home rule." 
You will vote on Home Rule in November. Its passage allows Oro Valley to spend considerably more that the amount that would be allotted by state limits. Oro Valley residents have approve home rule ballot measures every time the measure has been on the ballot.

Mayor Hiremath is wrong. All 7 council members voted to put "home rule" on the ballot

False Assertion: Candidate Bristow Is Against The Development of Parks
Fact: Candidate Bristow Is For The Planned, Not Haphazard, Development of Parks

At this same forum, Council Member Lou Waters alluded to a lack of support on the part of Candidate Don Bristow regarding parks.   "I find it most difficult to find that Mr. Bristow is on the "your Voice our Future" committee."  Waters made this assertion after Bristow had observed that Oro Valley moved ahead with building 2 ball fields at Naranja Park before completing a current town-sponsored study on what to put at the park.  Bristow stated that the plan should be developed before the project begins.

Bristow has never said he was against Parks. He is against haphazard, one-off, unplanned adventures.

False Assertion: Oro Valley "...Does Not Have A Lot of Challenges"
Fact: Oro Valley Has Many Challenges Facing It, Including Protecting Our Lifestyle

Council Member Joe Hornat measures Oro Valley's challenges in "dollars and cents."  He, like Mayor Hiremath, see no other challenges facing Oro Valley.

So, we present a list of some of the items put forth by the challengers and others:
  • Oro Valley moves forward on building things without a plan, such as the ball fields at Naranja Park;
  • Oro Valley moves forward with a flawed "remodeling" plan for the pool. Then, after being told that the initial drawings were not sufficient to produce a world-class pool, it raids the bed tax and contingency funds to fund twice what it planned to spend on the Oro Valley Aquatic Center;  
  • Oro Valley fails to move forward on items that were agreed upon when there was a plan, such as Steam Pump Ranch;
  • Oro Valley still does not have a Community Center, despite paying "lip service" to the need for one for 4 years;
  • "Civility, Integrity and Teamwork" has been replaced with "arrogance and dismissiveness" on the part of the Majority-4. Our community is divided. Bringing Oro Valley together is a big challenge.
  • Oro Valley must consistently work to do things things smarter: "Less money does not mean less services," according to Mayoral Candidate Pat Straney. 
And what of our "quality of life?"  Shouldn't that be in the mind of every Oro Valley elected official?

Today, Oracle Road is becoming like Ina Road in Marana: Traffic lights, heavy vehicular traffic, shopping centers and schlock signs.  800 new apartments will increase population density along Oracle Road, disproportionately burdening the need for town services.  Dark Skies ordinances need to be created to eliminate huge illumination signs like the 2 LA Fitness signs,.  How about our views and hillsides?  These certainly must be protected against the onslaught of requested general plan and zoning amendments.

We could go on and on, but we think you get the gist.
Read the Arizona Daily Star's Fact Check of the Rancho Vistoso Forum.


Richard Furash, MBA said...

Hornat's "proof" of a cohesive council was that there were 99 unanimous votes of 7-0 during the past two years. The figures he provided present only a HALF-TRUTH and it is disingenuous of Hornat and the majority-4 to imply that they reveal the WHOLE TRUTH.

The whole truth lies in how many of those 99 unanimous votes were for controversial items vs. non-controversial ones.

A deeper look reveals that the 7-0 votes were for non-controversial items such as approving liquor licenses.

The 4-3 votes were for controversial items. These included the budget, paying overtime for hours WORKED rather than for hours SCHEDULED, General Plan Amendments, a vote to allow a developer to build a house on a slope next to a riparian area, the Chief of Police reporting to the Town Manager instead of the Council, the San Dorado Master Sign Program, etc.

Notice that the majority-4 always vote YES on items that satisfy town employees, the OVPD, and developers. The citizens? Not so much.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

The fact that Hornat is trying to convince voters that there is no divisiveness on council is proof that this is the very thing that they are worried about. That's why they're trying to downplay it and pretend that it doesn't exist.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

"Oro Valley Has Many Challenges Facing It, Including Protecting Our Lifestyle." whose lifestyle is the LOVE Blog worried about protecting? It seems to be the retirement community.

The ten years I have lived here in Oro Valley I have found that most of us who have young families have been quite pleased with the growth taking place. I know most of you retired folk don't care about park space (my kids sports teams have to constantly fight for field space) and school resource officers, but the majority of us OV residents do. The incumbents have given us these resources and want to continue to improve on them. If we left it up to a certain candidate running for mayor, another candidate running for a seat, and the minority of voters in this community, OV's retirement population is less than 30%, Oro Valley would be a very large Saddlebrook.

I will concede that not all the growth has been positive (where is our community center?) and possibly the council has favored certain developers, but overall this growth has been good for the families of this community.

Lastly, if any of these candidates are as anti-public safety as the LOVE Blog's hero, Zinkin, I fear what will happen if the incumbents are defeated. A down sized police force and no more SRO's. I don't mind paying these guys a lot to keep our city safe. So please, LOVE Blog, stop speaking like you are the majority in Oro Valley, because your not. My goal is to get people of my age and younger to vote so Oro Valley can continue to grow into the family and business friendly city I though it was going to be 10 years ago when I moved here.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

Chad, it seems that because you have a "young family" that you think the town should cater to young families and not worry about protecting the "lifestyle" of the retirement community. FYI...The last census showed that the there was an INCREASE from 35 to 40.5 percent in the number of OV homes with residents 65 and over. It also showed that there was a DECREASE from 28 to 24.7 percent in the number of homes with residents 18 and under.

As for the "lifestyle" that we're trying to protect, it's not about a retirement lifestyle. It's about protecting our views, our peace and quiet, and protecting wildlife habitat. THESE are the reasons that people chose to move here 10 years ago and 15 years ago, etc. It was for the natural beauty and wildlife. All of our developer-loving councils have destroyed most of that, allowing rezoning of parcels from low density residential to high density or from low density residential to commercial.

You said you want OV to be the "family and business friendly city" that you thought it was GOING TO BE when you moved here 10 years ago. What about those of us who lived here prior to that who moved here because we liked what we saw and that's how WE wanted to live? Why should the council's allegiance be only to those who want to completely alter the landscape?

Richard Furash, MBA said...

Zinkin is not anti-public safety. That's just what the pro-OVPD crowd wants you to believe. Think about it. They also claimed that Burns and Garner are anti-public safety. Really? So these people who LIVE in this town and whose wives and children live in this town would like to dismantle our public safety? They don't care about the safety of their own families?

Zinkin presented a council report that showed areas in ALL departments where cuts could be made. He DID NOT focus solely on the OVPD, but that's what he's been accused of doing.

It's just scare tactics. Just like when a bunch of pro-OVPD citizens spoke at a council meeting about 4-5 years ago claiming that we needed a strong police force because "the Mexican drug cartels are coming to Oro Valley!" and "the Mexican drug cartels are here!"

So, how many Mexican drug cartels have the OVPD broken up since then? How many shoot-outs have they had with them? See what I mean? And why in the world have you not moved your family out of this drug cartel infested town?

Richard Furash, MBA said...

From our Facebook Page:

"Brad Louis posted on Let Oro Valley Excel's timeline"Empire Builders
The upcoming election for Mayor and town council in Oro Valley is going to decide what kind of community we really want to be. Up until the last four years we were a community striving for quality of life, now it seems we are striving for quantity of commercial buildings and apartments. Developers are continually requesting and receiving rezoning of parcels of land for high density residential everywhere.
After attending many council meetings, candidate forums, and reading everything I can on our current town council I have come to the conclusion that our mayor and the three current council members running for reelection see themselves as empire builders. If they are reelected, where will they take our town?
Will you enjoy living in an evolving rental community? Would you like that parcel of land zoned commercial next to you rezoned for an apartment building? Will you mind paying for the construction of new schools that will be needed to accommodate all the new children? Will you like paying for more police and fireman that will surely be needed? Where is all the water coming from to quench the thirst of all these big apartment buildings?
The mayor and above mentioned council members are quick to compliment themselves on so called achievements. They can’t even communicate with fellow council members constructively. Our mayor thinks he’s showing leadership by personally attacking council members with differing views.
Do we want four more years of this? Four more years of unrestricted building. Four more years of a mayor who would be king. Town council members so cozy with the police chief they wouldn’t dare look into police department finances.
There is an alternative. I have no personal connection with either Pat Straney or Don Bristow, but what I do know of them is that if they are elected, they will bring balance and civility back to our city council. They will listen to us."