A number of years ago, before many of our citizens made Oro Valley their home, a handful of residents initiated a group, Stop Oro Valley Outrageous Giveaways---(SOVOG). The group came about to fight the then majority council who determined it was in our best interests to offer three developers approximately $42 million dollars in our future sales tax revenue to develop three parcels in Oro Valley.
The most egregious of these “giveaways” went to Vestar, a Phoenix based developer who assured the residents they would bring us an “upscale, unique” shopping mall on the land that subsequently became The Oro Valley Marketplace. For those of you that were not living here at the time, you might wonder, “What am I missing? There’s no “unique, upscale” shopping mall there. All I see is a Walmart and other big box stores!”
Well---what happened was this. The people who bought into the Vestar sales pitch, got totally snookered. The end result is, we gave (still giving) Vestar something like $23 million dollars of our sales tax revenue.
SOVOG fought this giveaway as best we could, and if memory serves, after six court appearances, we finally achieved our goal of overriding 4 council members (two of whom were defeated in the next election, one retired, and one got defeated in a future election), and were able to get the issue to the voters.
Sadly, we couldn’t compete with Vestar’s advertising blitz, and the result was the aforementioned Marketplace.
So much for history. That brings us to where we are today. Once again, a majority of 4 council members have bought into a developers sales pitch and determined it is in our best interests to buy 45 holes of old golf courses, in the need of much repair and upkeep, not to mention a Country Club facility that is decades old, and hardly worth the millions of dollars necessary to bring it “up to snuff.”
Quoting Yogi Berra, the ex New York Yankee Hall of Famer: “It’s deja vu all over again.”
Once again, the people of Oro Valley find themselves in the unenviable position of being forced to do something that 4 people believe is in our best interests. Once again, it’s a developer with deep pockets that has supported the election of those council members with the credo; “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours".
There’s only one difference between then and now. Then, it took an election or two to dump those that thought they could get away with their egregious actions. This time, hopefully, we the people will “take the bull by the horns,” and initiate a recall petition to rid ourselves of these four.
For the record, we’re talking about Mayor Hiremath and Council Members Hornat, Snider and Waters. Oro Valley will be a better place the quicker these four can do no more damage.
To use another cliche: “Strike While The Iron Is Hot.” Initiate a recall petition. Get the required signatures. Get four new candidates that will work for us, not the Special Interests, and watch as we Let Oro Valley Excel!
Art Segal is a long time resident of Oro Valley. He is also the cofounder of Let Oro Valley Excel. Art has worked tirelessly for our community for many years. We always welcome his comments and his wisdom. Click here to read about LOVE, Art, Freedom of Speech, Oro Valley, and the Goldwater Institute.