Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Guest View-Pat Straney: Oro Valley Is At Critical Turning Point

What a difference a year makes. The 2014 General Election found Oro Valley in a “Good Space” with a bright future from the perspective of most residents. People were not concerned with the operational “day to day” issues of Oro Valley governance. Most were willing to accept the “All is Well in Oro Valley” mantra often espoused by the current mayor and his administration.

That was then - this is now!
The 2015 election season finds Oro Valley in a much different space or reality – a critical turning point in its history. The present situation is directly related to the ineffective, bullying leadership-style of Mayor Hiremath and the decisions that were made under his administration. Part of the mayor’s responsibility is to set the tone and expectations of those involved in the governance of our town. He has set that tone – and most have fallen in line.

So many mistakes that we have to fix
In the interest of time and space, I will highlight just a few of the more major elements contributing to the “realities” of today’s Oro Valley.

  • The El-Con Fiasco
The acquisition of the El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort under the guise of acquiring a “turn-key” Community Center (CC) and 324 acres in the heart of Oro Valley for a mere $1,000,000! The realty is the “turn-key” CC came wrapped in 45 holes of “money losing golf” and commits the tax payers (you and I) to multiple millions of dollars in capitol investment and subsidies - in an “ill-advised” attempt to turn the golf operations profitable within 5 years – and the building into a CC that meets the resident’s wishes on a community wide basis. Neither stated outcome is likely, in spite of the rosy projections stated by the current administration. 
  • Tax Increases
The 2 % utility tax was made permanent - along with the original 2% increase – bringing that to 4% total increase on your utility tax. Then, a ½ cent sales tax increase was added to subsidize golf losses without a sunset which has the effect of taking approximately $2,000,000 dollars of disposable income out of potential purchases at Oro Valley businesses. Is this business friendly? The mayor claims visitors to our area will pay approximately 30% of this tax but their actual paid share is less. 
  • Major Zoning Changes and Land Use Amendments
There appears to be a bias towards land-use changes that favors developers – not the people. How many apartments do we really need? How many more homes so close together you can reach through your window and shake your neighbor’s hand? 
  • Disrespectful Mayor and Several Town Council Members
They claim to listen to all viewpoints. They do not. (Blue card anyone?)They treat Council Members with opposing views like recalcitrant children – and worse – make fun of them. They claim that only they care about our Police and Fire Department heroes. That is certainly not true. I have never spoken with any member of this community who does not hold these folks in very high regard and I am one of them. They make our community safe!
These examples certainly do not encompass all citizen’s concerns. There are many more.

How Did Oro Valley Get To This Point – The Point of RECALL?
In my view, Mayor Hiremath does not have the “skill-set” (training, experience and leadership-style) that Oro Valley requires – especially today. However, this is not about the mayor as a man – or about his intentions. It is about his business knowledge, experience, capabilities and temperament in making large-impact decisions in a representative form of government.

The mayor’s business background is primarily as a successful provider of technical services in his dental business. And granted – that is a skill that few have. However, typically a person in this kind of business is an owner/operator of the business and is the only one “uniquely qualified” to make the important decisions for the success of the business. He has no Board of Directors to answer to. He is not required to get input from others, or consider alternate views, and does not concern himself with stockholders – other than of course his patients.

Mayor Hiremath's business model does not work well – nor is it appropriate – to apply to the representative form of government to which Oro Valley residents are entitled
Businesses and residents alike deserve a professional, respectful and transparent mayor who works for the people – not the developers. They deserve a leader who has the combined business experience, community knowledge and proven leadership skill-set that Oro Valley
needs so badly at this “critical junction” in its history.

My goal is to make you, the Oro Valley resident, the centerpiece of our community
My leadership-style and experience values public input and alternative views as critical elements in getting to the best solutions - and best decisions on any important issue - in any entity. I will provide the type of leadership that will put Oro Valley back on a long term sustainable financial course and begin the job of rebuilding the Public Trust.

This Recall Election offers all residents a “do-over” option. Ultimately, you get to decide what skills and capabilities you want your elected official to possess to lead Oro Valley forward. Give careful consideration to the major skill and experience differences in your choice and make an informed vote.

Read a detailed bio and background information on my website:

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