Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Guest View: Mike Zinkin ~ Eliminate and ignore citizen participation… It’s in our nature

When Satish Hiremath ran for Mayor in 2010, he desired to do away with all the Oro Valley citizen Boards and Commissions.

Eliminating Citizen Participation
Immediately upon being elected, Hiremath did away with the 5-member Bond and Finance Commission. This citizen commission was tasked with advising the Finance Department during the creation of the budget. It was made up of people familiar with accounting, including business owners. The opportunity for five knowledgeable citizens to advise the Town was eliminated.

Next, the 7-member Development Review Board was abolished and replaced with the 7-member Conceptual Design Review Board (CDRB). However, this was not just a name change because with the establishment of the CDRB they also abolished the 5-member Arts Review Commission, thus eliminating the chance for another five citizens to offer input to the Council.

On tonight’s Town Council agenda (June 7th), the first item on the Regular Agenda is to “Consolidate the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Conceptual Design Review Board.” There is a Public Hearing on this item. If passed, the people of Oro Valley will lose another opportunity to give their input to the Council and Town Staff, as this decision will eliminate another seven people from advising the Council. (Council cannot abolish the Planning and Zoning Commission or the Board of Adjustment as they are both required by State law.)

Ignoring Citizens’ Desires
Doing away with boards and commissions staffed by citizen volunteers is all part of the mayor's pattern of silencing the citizens.  It does not matter what the Citizens desire.  Example:  The June 2014 statistically valid Parks and Recreation survey (paid for by the Town) indicated that out of 34 possible facilities/amenities that the People desired, golf came in at #33. So what did Mayor Hiremath and his puppets do? They bought 3 golf courses in December 2014, just six months after the completion of the survey.

Editor’s Note: There are two Public Hearings scheduled for tonight. (1) Public Hearing on consolidating P&Z with the CDRB. (2) Public Hearing on approving the adoption of the FY 2017/18 budget.

Mike Zinkin has a Bachelor’s degree in history and government from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education from California State University, Northridge. He was a commissioned ensign in the United States Navy Reserve in 1969. He worked as an Air Traffic Controller for 30 years. He and his wife moved to Oro Valley after retiring in 1998. Mike served on the Oro Valley Development Review Board from 2005-2009, the Board of Adjustment from 2011-2012, and the Town Council from 2012-2016. During his time on council, he was named as one of 23 Leadership Fellows for the National League of Cities University, he was a member of the National League of Cities Steering Committee for Community and Economic Development, and a member of the Arizona League of Cities Budget and Economic Development Committee.