On February 26, Oro Valley Mayor Hiremath publicly impugned the character of three council members at the conclusion. He did so at the conclusion of an interviewwith Garrett Lewis of KNST.
The three council members are those who voted against the town's purchase of the El Conquistador Country Club. These three continue to speak out against this purchase, feeling that it is simply not in the best interest of Oro Valley.
The interview focused on the Mayor's reasons for supporting the purchase. At the end of the interview, rather than simply leaving, the mayor chose to say the following:
“Just real quick about character. You have council member Garner who actually hasn’t voted on a budget since 2008. You got council member Zinkin whose character has been that he’s goy formally charged with sexual harassment... You have council member Burns who had escalated from misdemeanors to being charged with felonies .... He's on court-ordered medication for bipolar and he’s supposed to be on medication. So you want to talk about character?”The mayor made this comment after calling council member Garner a liar three times during the 30-minute interview, as we reported last Wednesday.
We asked the Mayor questions regarding his comment:
"I will say that EVERYTHING I said was from a public record. Regarding Councilmember Burns, my quotes were from either the AZ Daily Star or the Explorer. .. Councilmember Zinkin's inappropriate comments both harassing and racial were documented by an independent person doing the investigation on behalf of the Town. .. Regarding Councilmember Garner, of course he has indeed voted for a budget. I was using the word "for" as "in favor of" which is also a proper grammatical use for the word "for". He has not voted "for" (in favor of) a final budget since 2008..."We followed up on this response asking the Mayor why he would even bother to attack the character of these individuals. He had already made his points regarding the El Conquistador Country Club purchase. Why not just walk away?
"Every once in a while I am human also. The attack on my character being painted as underhanded and deceitful wears on me sometimes. Those who know me know that couldn't be further from the truth. My emotions got the better of me and for that I do apologize."Zinkin Responds
Last Thursday, Council Member Zinkin took the opportunity of a KNST interview to respond to the Mayor. Unlike the Mayor, Zinkin did not make his response personal.
"The character assignation the Mayor ended with was just unfounded. I need to respond to that. The fact that Council Member Garner never voted in favor of a budget, the fact that we have a council member is taking medicine has nothing to do with character. It has nothing to do with whether you purchase or don’t purchase the El Conquistador. The fact that I was accused of sexual harassment means nothing. After an independent… investigation, I wasn't convicted of sexual harassment. Anybody can be accused of of anything. The bottom line is what happens after the investigation. To do that character assignation, which has nothing to do with this vote …that has nothing to do with the community center is just wrong."Many with whom we have spoken hold our Mayor to the highest standard. They argue that Mayor Hiremath is, after all, "The Mayor". It is his role to unite Oro Valley. It is his role to present Oro Valley in the best light. It is his role to set the tone of conduct for all to follow.
Please share your thinking (and please so be polite).