Saying thank you hardly seems enough when I think of everything volunteers did for me during my campaign for Council.
Volunteers gave input into and revised my brochures and flyers; they stood on street corners holding signs of support; they walked neighborhoods and delivered thousands of flyers; they talked with, emailed and wrote letters to friends and neighbors about supporting me; they put my signs in their yards and neighbor’s yards; they invited me into their homes to become acquainted with me; they donated money to the campaign; and they called, emailed me, and stopped by with suggestions and encouragement. It really is each of them who make Oro Valley a Community of Excellence.
The election did not end the way I had hoped. However, it was a great honor to run for the Oro Valley Council, and to be supported and encouraged by so many concerned citizens who felt I could be their voice on the Council.
Running with a focus on the residents of Oro Valley, and funding my campaign with only individual donations was an uphill battle to say the least. I was pleased to receive around $2,000 in donations and spend approximately $3,000.
My opponents received significant funding from special interest groups. I worry that these special interests will continue to shape the future of Oro Valley as they have done for the last four year. The incumbents each received between $14,000 and $18,000 in donations, and their final receipts have not yet been reported. Mayor Hiremath, at the last reporting period, had received almost $35,000 and still counting. The four combined their efforts, and so far have reported expenses exceeding $25,000.
Almost all of their donations were from developers, builders, real estate people, car dealers, and others who interface with Town staff and Council. During the last four years, this Council’s ruling majority have catered to these groups and individuals. With the significant funding from these groups during this election, there is every reason to believe the residents’ needs will not receive fair consideration.
I plan to stay very involved, listen to, and speak on behalf of, in the mayor’s words after the election “the whiny minority” who, I believe do NOT distract from the town’s forward momentum. I hope that each of you will also be involved. Let’s move forward together, and make certain the Council hears and acts upon the needs and desires of all concerned citizens.
Don Bristow is a long-time Oro Valley resident and 2014 candidate for Oro Valley Town Council. Don is a frequent speaker at Oro Valley council meetings and has been a member of various Oro Valley committees.