Mayor Hiremath and the Town Of Oro Valley are seeking to rally public support for the purchase of the El Conquistador Country Club. This we deduced from recent emails sent by Mayor Hiremath, a recently-penned letter from HSL properties, a number of recent Oro Valley press releases, and two recently schedule open houses on the El Conquistador Country Club purchase.
These activities have occurred in advance of tomorrow's hearing before Superior Court Judge Aragon. The judge will hear a filing by TOOTHINOV.ORG as to Oro Valley's blanket rejection of the 3,100 plus referendum signatures on the basis of a clerical error.
Mayor Hiremath recognizes the importance of tomorrow's hearing. He is hopeful that the Judge will dismiss the appeal:
Tomorrow "... will be a big day for us all because Judge Aragon can basically throw the whole case out and end this thing once and for all... Hopefully the Judge will rule on the law only and not let emotion get in the way because we have the law on our side." (Source: Hiremath email to his mailing list)Hiremath Tries To Rally Public Support For The Purchase
Last Thursday, Mayor Hiremath sent an email to his mailing list. The purpose of that email is to get those who want the purchase to occur to become highly visible.
First, he asks those who support the purchase to pack the council meetings "call to audience":
"I need bodies at both council meetings on Feb 4th and Feb 18th ... [to submit].. blue cards supporting the acquisition. In addition the Town is hosting a series of educational meetings beginning next week Monday Feb 2nd from 6-8 pm at the Town Hall Chambers and I would like to see it packed with supporters there as well."Then, he wants them to submit letters of purchase support to the local advertising circular:
"...if you could get a few people to write letters to the editor of the Explorer, that would be great as well. Please spread the word around."In what appears to be orchestrated media moment, last week Humberto Lopez, Chairman of HSL Properties, wrote a letter to the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce. The letter is dated last Wednesday. The letter tries to clarify a statement that Lopez made at a Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting regarding the timing of the purchase. At that meeting, he said that HSL would wait until May, if needed, to close the sale.
Lopez' statement caused many to question whether Mayor Hiremath was truthful when he said there was a need to approve the transaction immediately or the deal would "go away" because HSL had another opportunity in hand.
In the letter, Lopez states: "If no decision had been made at the December 17th meeting, we were going to pursue another sale opportunity."
Lopez statement, however, does not affirm the two assertions that Hiremath made in December: Lopez did not say that pursuing another opportunity meant that the deal with Oro Valley would "go away"; or that HSL actually had a viable opportunity in hand.
Town Of Oro Valley's Unleashes Media Blitz
The Town Of Oro Valley unleashed a press release media blitz starting on January 22. It is positioned as "providing information" to the public. The press releases continued for 2 weeks. You can read these releases on the town web site via this link.
The releases are being followed by Town Of Oro Valley sponsored "open houses". The first is tonight in Oro Valley Council Chambers. The next is on January 9.
Zinkin Objects To The Use Of Town Funds To Sell The El Conquistador Country Club Purchase To the people.
Council Member Mike Zinkin believes that the town is wrong to engage in this media effort. Zinkin wrote to Town Manager Greg Caton:
"Using Town Staff to market something the people have no interest in is wrong and I strongly object to it. I also object to you publishing misleading numbers thinking that the Citizens believe that they must be gospel, when, in fact, they are not.""A Town Divided Cannot Stand"
The Town Of Oro Valley and Mayor Hiremath have a very messy situation on their hands. It will remain messy if Judge Aragon rules agains the TOOTHINOV.ORG petition. There are many angry residents who will not take kindly to having their opportunity to vote rejected. They will remain angry. The town will remain divided. "A house divided cannot stand."