Thursday, December 11, 2014

Guest View-Don Bristow: "Guest View: Is El Con Deal A Good Deal Or Not For Oro Valley?"

On December 17, the Oro Valley Town Council will consider the purchase of the El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Club. The plan is to use it as a Community and Recreation Center and to raise of the Oro Valley sales tax to pay for its operations.  

Resident Don Bristow, a former council candidate, agreed to share a message he sent to residents about this transaction.  Based on feedback you have given us, his concerns are shared with many in the community.
"In case you haven’t heard about the December 3rd Council meeting, and read that Oro Valley will raise sales taxes (without a sunset) to acquire El Conquistador’s country club, I have attached three items. Two are articles from the Arizona Daily Star, one appeared only online at The other is an article about the decline of golfers and reasons for not getting into the golf course business. Course constructions, play and number of golfers continued to decline in 2013 as it has for many years, and it seems as though nothing can restart it. Even the proposed management company, Troon, agrees, when its vice president of sales says, “There’s no one thing that’s going to turn the industry or a club around.”

Pay back is hell! This deal is too good to pass up! These axioms are very appropriate for the Town Manger and Mayor Hiremath’s push for the Town to purchase the golf courses, tennis courts, and associated supporting facilities. The Town would purchase these through a collaborative arrangement with HSL Properties. This would allow HSL to buy the financiallydepressed Hilton El Conquistador Hotel which has been for sale for two years with no offers. Could HSL even buy the hotel if the golf courses are not sold?

You may know HSL as the owner of the new Encantada Steampump apartments near the Basis School; Hotel Arizona near the Tucson Convention Center; among other apartment and hotel holdings. You have probably read about Mr. Lopez and the Hotel Arizona which he let fall into shabbiness and disrepair; abandoned; and has refused to do anything to it unless Tucson gives him money.

You may also know HSL was biggest contributor to the reelection campaign of the four incumbents. The incumbents received close to $16,000 from HSL. Right before the election, the four incumbents began talking about the need for a community center. Mayor Hiremath claimed the discussions regarding sales of the Hilton have been going on for several months. Was he part of the discussions before the election? Is this purchase pay back for the money HSL invested in Oro Valley’s reelected officials?

Recently, the Stone Canyon Golf course sold for $20. The Ritz Carlton golf operations were sold for only $1. Is one million dollars a good price for Oro Valley to consider this? The Town’s PowerPoint presentation at the December 3rd meeting (view online) shows the Town will pay a yearly $1.2 to $1.5 million operating subsidy. That plus significant capital improvements of over $5 million, will leave the Town with a multimillion dollar deficit over the next five years.

On top of all this, the Mayor and his cohorts DO NOT WANT ANY PUBLIC INPUT. Is it fair for everyone who lives or shops in Oro Valley to pay increased sales taxes to support this purchase without input? Hopefully this is not a done deal.

Your opinions should be heard, and all your questions should be answered! Contact all of these people before the December 17th meeting when the decision will be finalized. Also, attend the meeting and let your voice be heard! (town manager)   (mayor)                                                                  


Richard Furash, MBA said...

Ms. Grimes has an excellent Editorial in this weeks Explorer Newspaper.
Read it!

This deal is as fishy as the Pacific Ocean!

Richard Furash, MBA said...

One question I haven't heard is this- Will the residents of OV have to pay to use the facilities? They should be free since we'll be paying for them.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

It is absolutely essential to attend next week's council meeting. We need to pack the hall and let our representatives know how we feel. The apparent lack of transparency and back-room dealing to shove this deal through without adequate notification to the voting public is not acceptable, especially when this concerns a tax increase to fund it. December 17th, 6:00 p.m., Oro Valley Council Chambers. Be there folks, and tell our Council what you think!

Richard Furash, MBA said...

Q How much will it cost to use the facility?
A Membership fee details are being worked through; however it will be affordable and include an Oro Valley resident discount rate.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

If you haven't seen this website, it's worth your time to read through it.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

I read the article in the Explorer plus the op-ed stuff. Loved Thelma Grimes piece. Questions- why do we need two more pools when we have the Aquatic Center? I could understand better if one was indoors, but they're not. Do we really need to be running restaurants? I don't think so. It sounds like the golf courses may need lots more work than we're being told. last, if we have to pay to use the gym part, why not just join a gym? They're everywhere in OV.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

Send emails. Attend the meeting. Fill out a blue card and let your voice be heard.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

Brenda wrote emails to the TOV Council et al; we are definitely against this purchase IF it includes the golf course.
It would be less expensive to rehab the old facilities than build new. Lopez is a questionable business person.....look at his record AND he contributed to the election of the Fab Four. I do not like our TOV Council being "bought" and it seems like this is what is happening.

Richard Furash, MBA said...

Anyone that believes that HSL is looking to give Oro Valley a good deal, should read the definition of the word "snooker."

snooker transitive verb

: to trick or deceive (someone)

: to prevent (someone) from doing or achieving something

Full Definition of SNOOKER

: to make a dupe of : hoodwink

Synonymsbamboozle, beguile, bluff, buffalo, burn, catch, con,cozen, delude, dupe, fake out, fool, gaff, gammon,gull, have, have on [chiefly British], hoax, hoodwink,hornswoggle, humbug, juggle, misguide, misinform,mislead, deceive, snow, spoof, string along, sucker,suck in, take in, trick

If the "gang of four" go through with this deal, we can fully expect all kinds of "unintended consequences."

The cost of operating, repairing this disaster that HSL is looking to unload will cost us all in the short and long run.

While a 1/2% sales tax may not be unreasonable, I for one will not pay it, but will shop outside of Oro Valley, rather than pay for this craziness.

It's bad enough we've been giving Vestar, (The "wonderful" developer of the OV Marketplace) almost half our sales tax revenue for years in an earlier "snooker" perpetrated on a prior OV Council, now Hiremath & his cronies are considering
"screwing" us again.

"Ignorance is NOT a virtue!"