Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Council To Further Study DRB Operations

The Town Council last night discussed the suspension of the operation and terminate the members of the Development Review Board, the Art Review Commission, the Finance and Bond Committee, and the Parks and Rec Advisory Board.

Leading the charge, Mayor Hiremath, denying that he is trying to abolish citizen participation in town Government, asserted that there was a need to step back to develop an effective system of operation.

"We need figure out what we want to do," noted Hiremath using an analogy to his father asking him to clean the garage, putting everything back into a proper place (not sure what he really meant by this).

Council Person Waters stressed that "we've reached a new point" as a more developed Town than when these Boards were initially established. "We need to take a good hard look at the Boards and Commissions and how we do business in Oro Valley."

Council Person Hornat supported not suspending these Boards; rather, use the next six months to understand what they are doing and to use their expertise. "I want to continue these Boards and evaluate these individually." Council Person Snyder agreed. "I too value the volunteer spirit in town," she noted.

Bill Garner said he is not in agreement that "...we should go cold turkey" and suspend these Boards. "We need to work with our Boards and Commissions." Garner felt that a disbandment would "send out the wrong message." These boards are a very good source of citizen training, Garner noted.

Five Citizens, for various reasons, spoke on not suspending these boards. One, Bill Adler, noted that he wasn't sure that the Council Members understood what they wanted these Boards to do, creating written expectations by the end of this year. Mike Zinkin, former DRB head, noted that the Board Members have no training since Sara Moore left. "Dont' get rid of them. Train them."

The Board voted, 7 to 0, to further study how these Boards operate, what the Council wants these Boards to do, and what they will do in the future.


artmarth said...

What might be of interest to our readers were the positions of two entities.

Preferring to totally disband DRB are what might be aptly referred to as "Special Interest" groups. Among them are the Northern Pima Chamber of Commerce, Southern Az Home Builders & the business community.

The "other side" includes mainly the citizens, the DRB volunteers & the OV staff.

Hopefully, when all is said and done, the DRB will remain as a positive factor in Oro Valley with knowledgeable, professionals continuing to offer their expertise to the community.

The Zee Man said...

What I found disconcerting was that Mayor Hiremath chose to advocate a radical solution--- suspending the four Boards and terminating the membership-- as opposed to the more sensible, people oriented solution of simply studying these Boards, determining what they should do and how they should do it.

His solution was neither practical nor sensible.

Is this the way he runs his business?

Blow things up?


Zev Cywan said...

Let's be clear, audience, as to which Council initiated this measure (along with others) that had the potential for taking the public out of the process(es).

It was PRIOR Council that initiated the study that had the potential for taking the public out of the DRB process.

It was PRIOR Council that tried to place SOLELY in THEIR hands the process for choosing the volunteer boards makeup. I spoke against their recommended change, it was defeated, and I was severely chastised by KC Carter after the Meeting for helping to 'blow' his efforts.

It was PRIOR Council that voted to enable 'initiatives' brought by Council to require only 1500 petition signatures to go to ballot, while requiring 3000 signatures for the public to initiate same. One of the explanations given for this as iterated by Council Member Garner (who voted FOR this differentiation ) when confronted outside of the meeting, was essentially that [Council had a better grasp of 'things' whereas the Public might get too 'frivolous' and therefor a stricter 'control' factor was necessary].

So, I don't agree with any of the measures that would isolate the public from direct participation whether they might come from our current Mayor or PRIOR COUNCIL where from the measures actually originated.

I have 'lived' participation which included members of various sectors of Town, Staff, and Council; when there is a Goal, when such Goal is defined, and when this Goal is respected, and when the Goal is confronted with the participation of ALL sectors of Community including the Public, the Staff, and the Council, though the paths to this Goal might be looked upon with differences of input based on educations and experiences, a coalition of common sense which accommodates the whole of the Community can, in fact, be reached.

Oro Valley Mom said...


I think you might be a little confused about the initiative and referendum vote. I believe that the council can refer an item to the ballot with just a simple majority--four votes. That is how the Naranja park bond got on the ballot, for example. There is a formula in state law and in town code for referendums (like the one regarding the Vestar deal) and initiatives. I can think of some state initiatives, but not any local ones. But essentially, I think a referendum overturns a council decision, and an initiative is driven by an interest group.

Anyway, the vote back in 2008 was whether the council would change the local ordinance to require the number of signatures for an inititatve to be based on the actual turnout at the last election, versus leaving it the way it had been, which was based on the number of registered voters.

The minutes show a 4-minute public hearing, during which there were only two speakers:

"Oro Valley resident Joe Hornat expressed that he was opposed to the change. He stated that many small interest groups work to make changes that benefit an uninformed minority rather than serving the community as a whole.

"Oro Valley resident Chet Oldakowski stated that he was in favor of limiting the number of signatures required and should be limited to a percentage of participating voters, not registered voters."

The council then voted 5-2 to reject any change to the current ordinance and leave things the way they were.

artmarth said...

"Mom"--- I too checked the minutes of that meeting.

I recalled the timing, and in fact it was just prior to the 2008 election when all kinds of outside special interest groups got any number of issues on the statewide ballot.

I can tell all our readers that was the impetus for our friend, Bill Garner's vote.

Only Ms. Abbott & Mr. Carter supported the motion that---as you pointed out, was defeated 5-2.