Monday, October 5, 2015

Guest View-Joe Winfield: Why I Ran For Mayor

Saturday, Oro Valley resident Joe Winfield announced that he was removing himself from candidacy for Mayor. He made the announcement at the Sun City candidate forum. Winfield said that he made his decision in deference to the mayoral candidacy of Pat Straney

Prior to that time, Joe had provided us with a Guest View for publication today.  We believe that his remarks and his perspective, which we know are shared by many, deserve this hearing.

The following is Joe Winfield's Guest View
Many decisions by Mayor Hiremath and some members of the town council are simply not in the best interest of our community nor do these decisions represent who I believe we are as a community.

What we do reveals what we value
Quoting the Mayor: "I encourage all residents of Oro Valley to become familiar with the facts and to weigh the rhetoric."

I could not agree more because what we do reveals what we value.

Community collaboration matters
Mayor Hiremath's actions indicate that he does not value collaboration with the community. After the purchase of the El Conquistador - despite strong opposition in the community- the Mayor and members of council had an opportunity to acknowledge the concerns of Oro Valley citizens and engage the community in an open discussion on how to move forward with the project. Instead, the Mayor and some members of council defended their decision and almost immediately started expensive improvements without citizen involvement. Instead, the Mayor and some members of council defended their decision and almost immediately plunged into expensive improvements. 

Collaborating with the community does not seem important to Mayor Hiremath . It is important to me.

Promoting all Oro Valley businesses matters
Mayor Hiremath's actions indicate that he does not value promoting small businesses in Oro Valley.

I am a small business owner and I was stunned by the video on the Town's web page featuring our mayor on KOLD-TV's Business File being interviewed by Joan Lee.

In this video, Mayor Hiremath enthusiastically promotes the town owned restaurant and does not say a word about all the restaurants in our community.

I think it is crazy the town owns and operates a restaurant and bar subsidized by our tax dollars. I cannot fathom what Mayor Hiremath is thinking as a business owner himself for the town to be competing against the private sector.

Promoting our local businesses does not seem important to Mayor Hiremath. It is important to me.

Seeking and considering the advice of Oro Valley's boards and commissions matters
Mayor Hiremath's actions tell me that he does not value the town's boards and commissions.

I can speak from my experience serving on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB). I was not on the board two weeks when Jack Stinnett (PRAB Chair) resigned in protest over the purchase of El Conquistador.  Jack's resignation was a great disappointment to me because I valued the service Jack brought to the community through his involvement on the PRAB.

Considering the significant impact purchasing the El Conquistador property would have on the parks and recreation program you would have expected Mayor Hiremath to seek advice from PRAB. Nope. Jack was not surprised by Mayor Hiremath's behavior because the mayor had not sought the PRAB's input about improvements to the town's pool either.

Seeking advice from the town's boards and commissions does not seem important to the mayor. It is important to me.

Following Oro Valley town code matters
The Town Of Oro Valley likes to pride itself in having unique design standards. These standards are articulated in the town's codes and ordinances. Everyone of us, including the town, is subject to these standards.

If you plan to build off street parking for your business or church be prepared to plant some trees. Don't get me wrong, I'm a landscape architect and trees are a good thing. They provide shade and soften the harshness of large expanses of asphalt. Go check out the new parking areas the town built at James D. Kriegh Park and Naranja Town Park. You will find a lot of parking spaces but one thing you will not see is a tree.

Ensuring that our government follows the codes and ordinances that they themselves put in place does not seem important to the mayor. It is important to me.

Community priorities, not "showmanship" is what matters
Mayor Hiremath's actions indicate that image takes precedent over what is more important to the community. You have probably noticed the numerous new park monument signs (For what it is worth, PRAB was not asked if they were a good idea or not). Now, no one can argue they look good, but keep in mind that all the parks already had signs. In fact, James D. Kriegh Park now has two monument signs. Have you ever had trouble finding James D. Kriegh Park? The point is the community voiced that playgrounds and play structures are the number one needed park amenity. And what do we get? We get signs we don't need.

Responding to community priorities does not seem important to the mayor, It is important to me.

What concerns me most about Mayor Hiremath and council members Hornat, Waters, and Snider is that they seem to believe that everything they are doing is good for Oro Valley.

Everything they are doing is not good for Oro Valley.

The mayor is right when he says "become familiar with the facts and weigh the rhetoric."

I did, and that is why I chose to run for mayor!”

What is important to you is important to me.
Joe Winfield is a landscape architect for the National Park Service (NPS) and graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. For most of his nearly 32 year NPS career, Joe has worked with communities across the nation to achieve community-based goals through collaborative processes.

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