Mayoral Candidate, Joe Winfield, recently sat down with LOVE for an interview. Part 1 was published yesterday. Part 3 will be published tomorrow. (If you missed Part 1, you can find it below this article.)
What do you like about Oro Valley?
WINFIELD: I was in the Landscape Architecture program at Arizona State University and learned that the program wasn’t accredited but that it was accredited at the University of Arizona (U of A) so we moved to Tucson. We fell in love with the mountains, the Catalinas, the Santa Ritas and so forth.
When we had the opportunity to return back to Tucson about 20 years ago, we had 6 children at the time, so of course schools were important to us and that’s what really drew us to Oro Valley.
In addition to that, the mountain views and close to home recreation. Wherever we’ve purchased a home, we’ve looked for trails, parks, and similar amenities because we enjoy the outdoors and being physically active. Certainly, the schools were first, but the beautiful mountain views, the open spaces. Having graduated from the U of A in Landscape Architecture, the Sonoran desert plant palette is something I love.
What are your hot button issues with the town?
WINFIELD: My hot button issues go back to about three years ago when the Your Voice, Our Future General Plan was nearly finished. I have to applaud the Town for YVOF because it was so impressive, the amount of community outreach that was done. Public involvement, that’s at the heart of what I’ve been doing for 25 years, and I was impressed with the effort made to involve the residents in the planning process.
So consequently, because I was so pleased with the effort to involve the residents, I was equally disappointed and felt betrayed, that once the Town passed the General Plan, we had no more than approved the plan when the mayor and town council began to make amendments to YVOF. We had just made this great effort to involve the community and then it was as if all that public effort was being cast aside. So, for me, it was such a betrayal and so counter to my own personal values.
Closely tied to that was the announcement of the purchase of the golf course. My issue with it was how it was presented to the community, especially how it was veiled in terms of a community center. I felt it was taking advantage of the community because I, for one, had been an advocate of a community/recreation center. But when the mayor and council presented the golf course and clubhouse as our community center, we toured the facility and it was such a disappointment. It was so unsuitable, in my view, as a community center. It was not accessible, it was dated architecture from the 1980’s, it was very compartmentalized, it wasn’t open, and the spaces weren’t inviting, and I thought, what a tragedy that this clubhouse is being pawned off onto us as a community center.
My other hot button issue is the survey that was done, the “statistically valid survey." The Town commissioned a survey to determine what amenities and facilities the residents wanted in their parks. At the top of the list were playgrounds, play structures, and ramadas. But how did the Town respond? They purchased a 45-hole golf course, they developed large treeless parking lots at Naranja Park and James D. Kriegh Park, and they installed large park monument signs, all of this stuff, even an archery range. I don’t have anything against archery, but archery was not even on the list. So to me, these are all examples of how out of touch the mayor and council are with the community and instead are pushing their own agenda or the agenda of Special Interests.
What is your vision for Oro Valley in four years, after your first term?
WINFIELD: I would hope that after four years of my term as mayor, that there would be an increased feeling of goodwill in our community.
I would also hope, as I already mentioned, that there would be new accessible play structures in Naranja Park and James D. Kriegh Park and that those would be facilities that children and families and others would enjoy. Having adequate ballfields so that families do not have to travel outside of Oro Valley for practice is important to me. We did our fair share of driving kids to Catalina simply to practice baseball and other sports. That needs to change.
One of the things that’s always concerned me since we moved to Oro Valley is the polarization between the retired community and the non-retired community and I would hope that we could somehow bridge that and that we could see ourselves as one community. It’s been interesting to me as I’ve been canvassing and talking to individuals, I’ve been surprised that some of the senior members of our community have also felt somewhat abandoned and feeling that there haven’t been the programs and facilities they desire.
I would hope to have made a difference in terms of the development of our community. Admittedly, much of the community is already developed so I don’t know that you’ll see a significant difference but I would hope that there would have been some moderation in development and the type of development.