Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Editorial ~ Thumbing their noses at the citizens

Below is a timeline of events surrounding the development of the new Oro Valley General Plan, “Your Voice, Our Future,” and the mere eight days that it took for the new town council (The Majority-7) to begin dismantling it with a Major General Plan Amendment at the request of a developer (The WLB Group).

Many Voices – A Clear Vision
[May 2013 – September 2016] A Public Participation Plan was created in May 2013 and residents began working on YVOF in September 2013. Individual committees were formed to focus on issues including Community, Environment, and Development. Over the next three years, numerous committee meetings, briefings, and public hearings were held. The council adopted the new General Plan in September 2016. It would now go to a vote of the public.

The “Forward” to the new General Plan states, in part: “We, the residents of Oro Valley, Arizona, have inspired and created this Your Voice, Our Future General Plan for the future of the community…Your Voice, Our Future was created from many voices coming together with a clear vision for the future.”

Voters Ratify the Plan 
[November 8, 2016] Oro Valley residents voted to approve the “Your Voice, Our Future General Plan.” According to the town website, “The Your Voice, Our Future General Plan will help determine decisions made for Oro Valley over the next 10 years.”

Majority-7 Immediately Alters the Plan
[November 16, 2016] A plan that was three years in the making, a plan written and approved by the people of Oro Valley for the people of Oro Valley, has already been altered by the Majority-7 during their very first meeting, just a mere eight days after it was approved by the voters.

The Town website describes the citizens’ involvement as follows:

“The success of Your Voice, Our Future is due to the hard work of the community. Over the past three years, residents helped create the Plan by:

  • Imagining Oro Valley’s future
  • Sharing ideas on how to achieve that future
  • Joining Your Voice committees to help build the plan
  • Providing feedback to ensure it reflects community values.

Town Media Release cites Overwhelming Support for General Plan
[November 23, 2016] According to a Town Media Release published today:

Oro Valley’s General Plan update passes by 70% vote, Council adopts official canvass at special session. Oro Valley, Arizona (November 23, 2016) – During a Special Session held at noon today, Oro Valley Town Council voted to declare and adopt the results of the Oro Valley General Election held on November 8, 2016. On the ballot was the Town’s Your Voice, Our Future General Plan, which appeared as Proposition 439. According to the official canvass that was prepared by the Pima County Elections Department, Your Voice, Our Future received more than 70% of the vote.

“Seventy percent is significant," said Oro Valley Town Clerk Mike Standish. “This is certainly confirmation of our voters’ overwhelming support of this community-developed general plan.”

The Majority-7 voted to amend a plan that was:
  • only eight days old
  • three years in the making
  • developed by the citizens to reflect our community values
  • ratified by the citizens with “overwhelming support”
Their first night in office and the new council’s first order of business was to thumb their noses at the citizens. Apparently, all those Oro Valley voices coming together to present a clear vision of what we want for our town is of no value or importance to the Majority-7.

You can read the new General Plan here.