Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Editorial ~ Dissecting the Town Council Election

Dear Councilmembers Burns, Garner, and Zinkin,

Please know that your supporters are not taking this recent loss personally and neither should you. An election won with special interest money, lies, and scare tactics is a hollow one at best.

Your message was genuine, theirs was not. Your supporters are very proud of the type of campaign that you ran, a campaign of honesty and integrity funded only by the citizens.

If the challengers believed that they could win on their merits, their campaigns would not have included outspending you 10 to 1 nor resorting to lies and scare tactics to garner votes. But there were other reasons for their hollow victory as well.

  • Selfish voters
These are the ones who choose a candidate based on “What’s in it for me?” rather than on what’s best for Oro Valley as a whole and what’s best for our future. Residents living along the golf courses fell into this category as they were hoodwinked into believing that the incumbents had “pledged to close and sell your golf course, destroying your home value!” They never made any such pledge. 
  • Uninformed voters
These are the people who stated that they voted for the challengers because they were “sick of all the development” going up in Oro Valley. They falsely believed that all this development had been approved by the entire town council. As such, they wanted to remove the incumbents. 
Little did they know that they just replaced the three council members who stood up to developers with three council members whose campaigns were funded by developers and builders. Little did they know that they had just elected a developer to the council (Steve Solomon), a person who, during his previous 2-year term on council, voted to approve all the high-density apartment buildings on Oracle Road that these voters complained about. Little did they know that they had also just elected another council member (Bill Rodman) who, while on Planning and Zoning, voted to approve a 5-story building, the very type of high-density development that these voters are against.
  • Voter apathy
Of the 28,949 registered voters in Oro Valley, less than 13,000 bothered to vote in the town council election. That’s less than half. There were 16,000 people who didn’t bother to vote at all because they didn’t pay attention to what’s happening in their own town and they didn’t realize what wonderful council members you were.
We suspect that many independent registers voters were denied their right to vote because they would have had to request to receive the ballot. Partisan registered voters did not have to do so. 
  • Endorsements
It is now obvious that in order to win a council seat in Oro Valley you must have the endorsement of the police union. This was not the case prior to Hiremath and his puppets running for office. They have successfully capitalized on fear mongering and have created a “culture of inclusiveness” with the message that police protection will surely suffer at the hands of anyone not endorsed by them. Just as it is political suicide to even discuss the OVPD budget, it is now also political suicide to not grovel for police endorsements when running for office.

When the new councilmembers take their seats on November 16th, we will have lost our watchdogs, our taxpayer advocates, our champions of the citizens. The challengers may have won the election but the people have just lost their town as our new 7-member council is completely beholden to developers, builders, and the police department.