Thursday, June 17, 2021

Local Lore and Celebrity-Bee Dee Atkins

You might be familiar with the Walt Disney animated movie, “The Fox and the Hound” Did you know there is a connection between it and Oro Valley? 

Disney’s movie, is based on the book by Daniel P. Mannix written in 1967. The protagonist, Amos, and his hunting dog, Copper, were modeled after Bee Dee Adkins and his favorite hunting dog, Copper.

Bee Dee was born in 1903 in Lamposo, Texas to Vancouver and Amanda Adkins. The family, which eventually grew to ten boys and one girl, moved to Mexico in 1916 and then to Mesa. At the age of fourteen, Bee Dee went off on his own. One of his many jobs included “cowboy hunter”, one who provided armed protection to ranchers from attacks by the Yaqui in the area. 

The 1940 census shows Bee Dee, his wife, Viola and their three daughters living in what is now Catalina State Park. Sons William, George and Bee Dee Jr. were born later. During his time in the Oro Valley area, Bee Dee worked the old Baldwin place (a homestead in Catalina Park). He farmed crops as well as having a poultry farm. Bee Dee also started to work as an animal tracker for the state while here. He was well known for his excellent ability in training hunting dogs and his hunting skills. He was a renowned mountain lion tracker, an invaluable resource for local ranchers. 
 
In 1944 Bee Dee and family moved to Perris, California. There he took up employment for the Fish and Game Commission and also led private hunting parties in California and Mexico. It was on a private expedition that Bee Dee met Daniel P. Mannix. Mannix was so enthralled with Bee Dee’s personality and adventuring spirit, that he incorporated Bee Dee’s experiences into magazine articles and books (i.e. “Dangerous Game” and Cowhand). Mannix portrayed Bee Dee’s mannerisms and somewhat gruff persona in the character, Amos, in The Fox and the Hound. The story line includes Bee Dee’s favorite hunting dog, Copper, and a fox, Tod. In preparation for writing the novel, Mannix studied foxes, both tame and wild, a wide variety of hunting techniques, and the ways hounds appear to track as witnessed on his expeditions with Bee Dee. 
       
Bee Dee moved back to Arizona in the early 1950s and worked at the O. R Parker Ranch. In August of 1954 his life came to an unfortunate end when he tried to cross the flooded San Pedro River at Redington, and drowned. His body was carried downstream for six miles and found by ranch hands and sheriff’s deputies. Bee Dee is buried in Evergreen Memorial Park in Tucson.

The Fox and the Hound won the E. P. Dutton 1967 “Animal Book Award”. If you happen to have a first edition copy, it’s worth about $250.

Disney bought the rights to the Mannix book in 1967 but didn’t begin development until 1977. The animated film was released to theaters in 1981. The movie had a lifetime gross of $63.5 million.

Sources and Cites: 
Claiming the Desert by James A. Williams 
Images of America Oro Valley by Barbara Marriott 
Both books are available through the Oro Valley Historical Society (contact tcolmar@comcast.net) or at Amazon.com
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WE WANT YOU! The Oro Valley Historical Society is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit volunteer organization, whose mission is “To promote research, preservation, education, and dissemination of historical information related to the greater Oro Valley area”. We invite you to become a member or volunteer. Visit us at ovhistory.org and help keep Oro Valley history alive! We are currently looking for enthusiastic volunteers who are interested in becoming docents at the Pusch House Museum and for Steam Pump Ranch tours. Training sessions are being scheduled for the fall season. Contact: Teri at tcolmar@comcast.net

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Possible Water Use Restrictions Fail To Consider Regulating Future Connections

Council considers plans for possible future water restrictions tonight
The Oro Valley Town Council will study water restriction measures that might be required in the future if certain water system events happen. These events are embodied in a possible revision of Ordinance 15-18, Water Conservation. These events relate to water demand and supply.  

No restrictions are imminent
At present, the Oro Valley water utility has the ability to produce and distribute more water than demand requires. It has been that way for many years, especially once the town began accepting Central Arizona Water (“CAP”) in 2012. The town depends on CAP water to provide a sustainable water supply. CAP water has enabled growth.

CAP water restrictions are imminent. At some time in the future, these will impact the town’s water supply. Thus, the town is moving now to define the circumstances under which it would restrict water use; and how it would do so.

Possible restrictions paint a glimpse into a rather gloomy future
The draft Water Conservation ordinance has four water supply event levels. Each level has water use reduction actions the water department will require of users. These range from voluntary actions, in stage 1, to severe restrictions by phase 4. The following chart summarizes the events and the actions.




The draft ordinance includes penalties, the most severe of which is disconnection of services. Other actions include installing a water restriction device on the service to the property.

Restrictions fail to consider new connections
The draft ordinance does not mention new connections. Thus, based on the ordinance as drafted, new connections can be happening at the same time the current users are struggling to meet required water reduction measures. Imagine a 500 unit apartment going on stream during a level 2 restriction. Residents can’t wash their cars but apartment owners can fill their units. This makes no sense.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Oro Valley Plans Now For Potential Water Use Restrictions Later

The drought is 22 years and counting
The Southwest and the Western US is in a 22 year long drought. It is severe. It is the second longest drought in recorded history. There is no end in sight. Even one or two rainy years won’t solve the drought problem. 

The drought has impacted CAP water
The drought problem won’t be solved unless there are substantial continuing high snow pack, slow melt years in the Rockies. It’s the snow pack melt that provides the bulk of water to the Colorado River system (CAP). It is a system that has seen the slow, continuing decrease in water levels in its two primary lakes: Lake Powell and Lake Meade. 

Oro Valley is dependent on CAP water
CAP water was first introduced to Oro Valley in 2012. Given it’s extensive growth, Oro Valley has not become dependent upon it. By 2020, it was 33% of Oro Valley water. CAP water is used to replenish Oro Valley’s groundwater. Oro Valley’s ground water would not be sustainable without CAP Water.

Tier 1 CAP water system-wide restriction will start in January
As LOVE has reported, the US Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency responsible for administering CAP, will implement Stage 1 CAP water delivery restrictions when water levels in Lake Meade 1075 feet above sea level. State CAP officials expect that the BLM will make this decision in August for January implementation. This will restrict agricultural water users in terms of the quantity delivered. 

The Tier 1 restriction will not effect Oro Valley’s CAP allocation
It may affect how that allocation is used since the Tier 1 restriction bans CAP water use for replenishment. If this is the case, then Oro Vally Water may have to used this water directly.

Town Council to consider changes to water conservation code “in light of drought…and in expectation of future CAP water delivery curtailments”
Wednesday, The Oro Valley Town Council will take a first step in recognizing the potential impact of the 21 year drought on Oro Valley’s water supply. Later stage CAP restrictions, if they occur, will reduce Oro Valley’s CAP water delivery. The council will discuss, in study session, possible changes to Oro Valley’s water conservation code (article 15-18) 
“In light of the 22-year drought experienced by Arizona, and the expectation of future Central Arizona Project (CAP) water delivery curtailments that could someday affect Oro Valley's CAP deliveries, the Water Utility Commission and staff recommend that now is a good time to update the water code with respect to prohibiting water wasting, the imposition of water restrictions during a Town declared potable water shortage and impose penalties for failure to comply with water conservation requirements during a Town declared potable water shortage.”
Proposed water conservation code change would make water wasting illegal... subject to fines
“Water wasting” (see panel above) would be illegal under the proposed code. The code defines four levels of enforcement regarding water wasting. Essentially, the property owner has six weeks to fix the problem before any fines are levied.The water department, not the police, are responsible for this enforcement.

Wednesday: Proposed code changes specify restrictions in declared water emergency
The bulk of the proposed ordinance regards when the water utility can declare a water emergency, the level of emergencies that it can declare, and the actions that it it will take. This is important because it tells us what to expect if the drought continues. This will be the subject of our posting Wednesday. 

Friday, June 11, 2021

Danny Sharp Running For Mayor In 2022

Danny Sharp Is Running For Mayor in 2022
Oro Valley resident Danny Sharp will run for Mayor in 2022. In a press release yesterday, Sharp says that he is running because he is concerned that Oro Valley residents will be negatively affected “…if businesses that our residents support are not provided an environment to be successful.” He continues: “A number of our neighbors have expressed concern about the lack of engagement and vision by our elected officials when it comes to the future or Oro Valley.” 

Sharp was the town’s Police Chief for 20 years, retiring in 2019. He also served as interim town manager in 2017, prior to the arrival of now town Manager Mary Jacobs. Wednesday, 

Wednesday, Sharp filed a statement of organization for his PAC, Danny Sharp For Mayor. Kathleen Robinson and Linda Simon are the PAC’s Chairperson and Treasurer, respectively. dannysharpformayor.com is his website.

The 2022 election will start with a primary in August of 2022.  The Mayor and three council seats will be up for election. No candidates, other than Sharp, have filed for these positions. Incumbents have not indicated if they will run for reelection.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Guest View-Art Segal: A View of Oro Valley From A Distance

Art Segal was a LOVE Cofounder. He worked tirelessly on LOVE from 2007 until 2016.  LOVE is the product of many people. Not just me, the publisher. I want to recognize and thank them all.  LOVE really is: “Of the people, by the people, and for the people.
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Hi Everybody,
Hopefully, there are still some Oro Valley folks that may remember me. I'm Art Segal, a former resident who, along with my wife Martha, left our beautiful home in La Reserve to relocate to SW Florida in 2016. Time seems to go by so quickly, and we have vivid recollections of moving into our new home in Oro Valley in 1993. At the time, Oro Valley's population was approximately 14,000.

After 23 years of mostly good times, in July of 2016, we decided to leave our friends and acquaintances and the home we really loved. Some may ask, "if you loved the home and area so much, why would you leave?" That's certainly a fair question, and l'll try to answer it truthfully, and straight forward. It had nothing to do with the glorious weather, or the fact that the population grew to be in excess of 44,000.

What made us leave was seeing from a close up view what was happening to our community. I wasn't a "political person," but as a result of the local politics in Oro Valley, back around 2007 (if my memory is accurate), Richard Furash and I started a blog we called "The LOVE BLOG"-----an acronym for "Let Oro Valley Excel." Our sole purpose was to give a voice to the people of Oro Valley, as---- our opinion, the big developers and the elites were running the town----and getting away with it. We tried----mostly unsuccessfully to get candidates that were "people first" candidates elected as mayor and council members. Unfortunately, the big money financially supported "their" candidates, and for the most part, due to many uninformed folks that were apathetic, things kept getting worse.

Some of the examples that made our decision to leave were the subsidies given to the big developer out of Phoenix, Vestar to develop the prime land on the corner of Oracle Road and Tangerine. We understand that once the subsidies ended after 10 years Vestar sold the property that was to be a "unique and upscale" shopping center, to another big developer. The site hardly became what was promised, and what it will become next----I don't know. Another example of the big developers "running the show"-- that was the final negative for our community and for me, was the purchase by the then mayor and council of the El Conquistador golf courses and other amenities. I can't tell you how much that decision cost the Oro Valley tax payers, but it was excessive.

So, that's a relatively short history of why we no longer are a resident of such a beautiful location. Now, to the main point. I don't how many of the folks living in Oro Valley appreciate the time and effort that Richard Furash has given to the community for so many years. While I tried my best, but ultimately gave up, Dick has persevered and for the most part, has been a singular voice of reason in his attempt to Let Oro Valley Excel.

 There's still much to accomplish, but hopefully, enough Oro Valley residents will elect only those candidates that are for the people. Thank you Richard for your yeoman effort, that should make you very proud.

My best to you, your family and the residents of Oro Valley.

Art Segal

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Council Targets Nagging Problems In 2021-22 Record Budget

2021-22 budget cap: $162 Million
Oro Valley will roar into the post pandemic era. Last week, the town council unanimously approved the largest budget cap it the town’s history: $162 Million.

The approved cap is intended to be used to fix nagging problems
An underfunded public safety plan and long needed investment in Naranja Park; Golf Course Irrigation; the town’s trails system are the drivers of the spending.

The council has seized the opportunity to fix these problems now because the town has received free federal money, seen an unexpected surge in sales tax revenues and fees, and has the opportunity to take advantage of cheap interest borrowing rates.

Town Manager’s requested budget: $107.5 million 
The Town Manager’s recommended budget starts the formal budget process. We reported our build up of that budget in April. The town manager submitted a budget of $107.4 million. She was instructed by council to ad $27 million for the pay down of the town’s underfunded public safety pension (“PSPRS”).

Town Council problem fix: $54 million
PSPRS: $27 million 
The budget cap includes $27 million in spending that the council directed the town manager to include in the budget. That amount is to be used to pay-down the town’s underfunded PSPRS.

Parks: $25 million 
Since that budget’s submission, the council directed the town manager to add spending of about $24 million to pay for parks. Half of that was directed by council to be spent on Naranja Park. (Our report on the town $42 million in bonds to cover the PSPRS pay down and parks investment.) 

Annexation of Westward Look: $700,000 
The Westward Look annexation, also a council decision, caused the addition of about $700,000 to the budget. This amount is needed for the town to complete promised improvements and for added funding of $160,000 for “Visit Tucson”. 

The town is required to designate a percentage of its bed tax revenues for tourism attraction. According to Town Manager Mary Jacobs: “We currently utilize Visit Tucson as our primary marketing group.” Visit Tucson had been receiving about 50% of Westward Look’s bed taxes through an agreement with Pima County. The town manager’s budget had included $250,000 for Visit Tucson. So, the total in the budget for Visit Tucson is $410,000

Former Vistoso Golf Course: $1,000,000 
Another council decision will be its role in possible grant funding of $1 million if The Conservation Fund is successful in purchasing the former Vistoso Golf Course from Romspen LLC; and then gifting a permanent conservation easement of the property to the town.

The council will conduct a second hearing on the budget at its June 14 meeting.