Monday, October 24, 2016

Editorial ~ Last Chance to Have Your Voice Heard!

If you were unhappy with the verdict in the El Con Referendum petition suit, you still have an opportunity to have your voice heard! If you haven’t yet voted, there is a section on your ballot where you can vote to remove or retain Pima County judges.

We urge you to remove Pima County Superior Court Judge Gus Aragon.

To refresh your memory and for those who are unaware of his history, below is a brief synopsis.

Judge Aragon decided the following two Oro Valley cases in 2015.

Case 1
Oro Valley Town Clerk, Julie Bower, rejected over 3,000 signatures on the El Con Petition Referendum due to a small clerical error. The lower right corner of the petitions contained the Referendum number rather than the Serial number.

Although this omission was insignificant, and despite established legal precedent, Judge Aragon ruled in favor of the Town of Oro Valley and deemed the petitions invalid. In doing so, the citizens of Oro Valley lost the right for a referendum vote on the purchase of the El Con Community Center, Tennis, and Golf Courses.

Case 2
Later in 2015, Mayoral Candidate, Joe Winfield, and Town Council candidate, Doug Burke, each submitted invalid nominating petitions to get on the ballot. The reverse side of their petitions was missing the name and signature of the circulator of the petitions. This is required information, yet, Town Clerk, Julie Bower, accepted the petitions despite these omissions.

An Oro Valley resident challenged the legality of the petitions and filed suit in Superior Court. This time, although Judge Aragon agreed that the petitions were invalid, he allowed the two candidates to remain on the ballot because the county had already printed and mailed a few overseas ballots.

In the first instance, Aragon ruled for the Town and invalidated the petitions because they did not conform with State Law. In the second instance, he “weighed the competing interests of the parties, voters, taxpayers, and the citizens of Oro Valley” and once again ruled in favor of the Town, allowing the petitions to be accepted despite the missing required information.

Aragon ruled against the citizens both times, setting different parameters for his decision each time. Our voices were not heard in either case, but they can be heard NOW if you vote to remove Judge Aragon.

Remember, change only happens if you participate!