Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Guest View: Mike Zinkin ~ Will your elected Oro Valley officials take charge tomorrow evening?


The Town Council meeting on Wednesday, January 6th will be very telling as to who actually governs Oro Valley. Is it the Town Manager/Staff or the elected officials, your Town Council?

There are two topics on the agenda that are worrisome
1. General Plan Amendment: One of the topics to be voted on is a General Plan amendment (GPA) converting a commercial corner into a residential one (either high density or medium density) on the SE corner of First and Tangerine. This vote should have occurred by December of 2020, but, due to an oversight by the Town Manager and Town Attorney, the topic was not listed as a “public hearing.” (The Mayor attempted to take some of the blame, but that was just a courtesy.)

The Town Manager and Town Attorney are responsible to post a legal agenda, while the mayor and the Agenda Committee are responsible for forming the agenda. Usually, after a public hearing, there is a council discussion and a vote. The December 30th Special meeting regarding this GPA allowed only for a discussion and no vote.

Look to the General Plan for guidance
So now we come to the January 6th meeting. The Kai General Plan amendment is posted as discussion and possible action (i.e. a vote.) Rather than listen to the recommendations from the staff as to whether or not to approve this GPA, why not look at the General Plan for guidance, as that is a valid document that states the recommendations of the citizens.

We know that Councilmember Solomon gives no credence to the General Plan as he voted to amend it during the same meeting in which it was approved (November 2016).

Bottom line: This property on the SE corner of First and Tangerine is one of the prime commercial corners in Oro Valley. The citizens desired it to be commercial. Our elected officials need to do their job and represent the citizens, not the Town staff, not the special interests.

2. Employee raises: This is another troubling item on the agenda. Town Manager, Mary Jacobs wants to give the employees a 3% raise. There was no employee raise in the FY 2020/21 budget for obvious reasons. Does Jacobs think that all the COVID issues are in the past because this is a new year?

The pandemic still continues. Many people in the private sector are unemployed or have had their hours cut drastically and some risk being evicted. Businesses are still closing. Yet, no Town employee has missed a paycheck or day of work and many worked from home. No Town employee has had to suffer like those in the private sector. But Jacobs wants to give a 3% raise to these employees. Will she ask for another raise in the FY 2021/22 budget as well?

Mayor and Council members: TAKE CHARGE of Oro Valley. Say NO to the General Plan Amendment and the requested raise.