Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Heather’s Corner: When Mom Meets The Underbelly of Oro Valley Politics

Last week at the Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce Forum, Mayor Hiremath listed four things you should expect from your Mayor.  The fourth was that the Mayor should be "somebody who cares for you. And I am that individual."

Is he kidding?  

Heather writes today about her personal experience and how Mayor Hiremath and his majority colleagues never exhibited even one ounce of caring for her and her neighbors' needs.
In this elections season, I think it is important to share with you my one experience with the current Oro Valley Town Council Majority-4.  I'm just a regular ol' Oro Valley housewife/stay-at-home mom of two.   It's safe to say I did not know much about the Oro Valley Town Council when I needed their help.  Franky, like most people in my situation, I was busy with my own bubble of motherhood. And, I thought to myself: They are my council. Certainly they will help me.

But I know now that during that experience, I spent hours of time away from my children, money out of our own pockets, and a considerable amount of grief to do someone else's homework. In the end, we were somberly taught a lesson in inequity.  You see. I expected the Oro Valley Town Council, and the Majority-4 specifically, to protect my interests.

I was wrong about them. I was wronged by them.

I want to tell you my story.

There was a beautiful sloped hill and protected riparian area on a lot next to the home we purchased. The lot wasn't without challenges, but to the layman's eye, it was apparent that a home could be built. Enter the builder. He believed it necessary to destroy almost the entirety of the slope and protected area to build a comparable "castle."

We protested at the Board of Adjustment and failed. This was our first experience with codes and procedures, but not so for the builder, who spoke of hardship with a magic tongue. It was sobering, but we would not give up! We had one more opportunity to state our case to the "Knights of the Round Table," (Town Council) and this time we'd be prepared!

We hired an army of architects, experts, and engineers to refute the arguments of the builder and we prevailed! The lot encompassed a 4500 sq. ft. buildable envelope, of which to masterpiece a castle of all castles, all without destroying the slope and subsequent home to a family of bobcats. We would bring forth this information to the "Knights" and they'd rule in our favor-victory for all!  It would be a win-win.

But that's not the ending of this story.

Four of the knights were unthwarted by our work and hard efforts. They did not give consideration to the army's evidence. They ignored the findings of their own town scholars and staff. And the builder, well, he destroyed that beautiful hillside and all that went with it, but, all for not.

This mom met politics.  Developer 1 Citizen 0.  End of game.

I can't respect those who show blatant disregard to information, factual evidence, or expert findings, when it doesn't support a developer, business, or revenue-providing-entity for the town. Sometimes the individuals' interests need to override. Sometimes the underdog needs to win too.

I support the new candidates. May they be "knighted" with values and fortitude that appreciate us all as individuals while still maintaining appropriate relations with businesses and developers for the town as a whole.
Heather Nenadovich has lived in Oro Valley a total of five years. She has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Her husband is Canadian so she is a hockey fan by default and so are her two very clever children. When not being a mommy, she enjoys hiking in Catalina State Park, hand building pottery, and gardening. Her favorite things about living in Oro Valley are the towns recognition of art and culture, their commitment to preserving nature and the Christmas parade. (Also anything from GMG Chinese Bistro.)


Richard Furash, MBA said...

Hey, Jack, politics is local, and you can't more 'local' than your own back-yard. Snarky comments like yours add fuel to local political fires.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

Hi Jack- Not whining because the lot was developed. I am saddened because the builder destroyed an entire hillside and town-protected riparian area (which was a first time it had ever been allowed by the current or any previous Council) and there was no need to. He could have built outside of that entire area as my "experts" concluded. I was never against the development of the lot. Looks like you missed the point.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

The builder did not have a RIGHT to destroy the slope and riparian area. It was a PRIVILEGE that was granted to him by the anti-citizen, pro-developer, anti-environment majority-4.

To paraphrase something that Bill Adler said at a recent council meeting regarding another developer's requests ~ we owe some allegiance to the residents who already live in that area...what they bought...and what they have.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

You are such a hypocrite! You live in a mass graded subdivision, how many bobcats were displaced so you can live in your cheap stucco box?