Referendum petition turn-in

Shirl Lamonna (right) hands more than 3,000 signatures to Oro Valley Town Clerk Julie Bower on Thursday, Jan. 15. Lamonna’s citizens’ group gathered the signatures with the hope of forcing a public vote on the town council’s recent decision to purchase the El Conquistador country club and golf courses for a community center. (Hillary Davis/Tucson Local Media)

After weeks of waiting, they’re still waiting.

The Arizona Supreme Court had not yet decided by Monday if it will hear the case filed against the Town of Oro Valley by organizers of a so-far failed referendum against the town’s purchase of the El Conquistador country club and golf courses.

Shirl Lamonna and Debra Arrett are seeking review from the state’s highest court after judges with the Pima County Superior Court and Arizona Court of Appeals sided with Oro Valley Town Clerk Julie Bower, who they agreed acted appropriately when she rejected the pair’s petition for a public vote on the $1 million purchase of the El Conquistador golf courses and country club for a municipal recreation and community center. The petition’s signature sheets lacked a legally required serial number.

The organizers’ attorney, Bill Risner, said he didn’t know when the court will come back with word.

Town spokeswoman Misti Nowak also said that the town doesn’t know when it will get word from the court. 

The town is still negotiating the terms of the purchase contract with current El Conquistador owner HSL Properties, she added. The contract process is not tied to the Supreme Court’s decision. 

On a related front, proponents of a recall election against Mayor Satish Hiremath and Councilmembers Lou Waters, Joe Hornat and Mary Snider – all of whom voted to pursue the El Conquistador purchase and an associated sales tax increase – are still collecting petition signatures for a November election. They plan to stop collecting signatures on April 25.


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