Don’t allow our community’s child to be sold

At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at the Oro Valley Town Hall, citizens will have what may well be their only opportunity to save the Oro Valley Public Library in its current format.

Our extraordinary library, conceived and nurtured by Oro Valley citizens and their elected representatives is, in a very real sense, Oro Valley’s communal child. Presently an affiliate of the Pima County Library System, the Oro Valley Public Library is unique in the quality and scheduling of its programs, book and periodical collections, hours of operation, physical appurtenances, exceptionally talented staff and dedicated corps of volunteers.

Because Oro Valley has no community center and few locations for group meetings at no or nominal cost, the library has, since its inception, served a dual purpose.

Providing for a broad spectrum of citizens, from preschoolers to teens to seniors, the library has responded to the expressed needs and desires of all who have proudly chosen Oro Valley as their home.

In these difficult economic times, citizens have had free access to computers, job search, and financial literacy programs, magnifying readers for the visually impaired, writing classes, book clubs, foreign language courses, political discussion groups, and local business expositions.

In fiscal year 2010-2011, 226,480 people entered our library, of which 8,597 persons attended volunteer-led adult programs, 10,215 attended young adult and children’s programs and 14,482 people used the public meeting rooms.

All of this was made possible by the unprecedented number of volunteer hours (adult: 12,677; young adult/teen: 1046) - more than double the highest number of volunteer hours of any of the 27 branch libraries.

Since the library’s inception, Oro Valley and Pima County have negotiated a series of Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) for the purpose of jointly funding the Oro Valley Library.

Oro Valley’s share of the annual $1.2 million cost has varied between 45-50 percent,(approximately) $600,000. Pima County has paid 50-55 percent annually (approximately) $600,000.

To date, the Friends of the Oro Valley Public Library have raised close to $750,000, which has been used for programs, collections, maintenance, and gifts to the town such as white boards and computers.

The cost savings in terms of salaries (library staff are town employees) has been substantial. Due to the astounding number of volunteer hours, and using only minimum hourly wage figures, the total dollar amount saved, while providing superior services, was $104,990 for FY 2010-2011.

The Oro Valley Town Council is once again in the throes of preparing an IGA. Serious consideration is being given to relinquishing control of our affiliate, effectively giving it to Pima County as a branch and subjecting it to the regulations, which dictate services throughout the greater County system.

Town Manager Greg Caton has stated, on numerous occasions, that Oro Valley has the available funds to continue the present affiliate status. He questions whether Oro Valley citizens are being penalized by what amounts to a “double taxation” in that town monies (primarily from sales taxes) are added to the Pima County(secondary tax) Library District dollars already paid by our citizens.

The true issue however, is whether or not Oro Valley citizens believe that exceptional services are worth paying for. According to a 2007 citizen satisfaction survey, the library ranked second to police protection in terms of what citizens considered outstanding attributes of Oro Valley.

There is absolutely no doubt that were the Oro Valley Public Library to become a branch it’s services, in both scope and quality, would be reduced to the lowest affordable common denominator.

If Oro Valley citizens want to continue living in a “Community of Excellence,” which attracts hi-tech businesses with a highly paid and a well-educated workforce, they need to make their voices heard in support of maintaining the library status quo.

I urge everyone to email our council members, and to attend the Feb. 21 meeting.

Helen Dankwerth, Oro Valley

The devil is in the details

Concern for how commercial signage reflects the Town’s image, a community of excellence, was characterized  in lengthy meetings.

While AZ 16-1019 permits political signage larger than OV’s ordinances, let’s reflect about what the candidate says who ignores local ordinances for placement, design and size.

Burns, Garner, Napier, Narcaroti, Zinkin elected simple two or three colors of modest size and placed them at approved intersections. They accept OV’s parameters for advertising. Solomon’s five foot, canary yellow, white and black proliferate the neighborhoods, ie La Canada and Naranja, Rancho Vistoso Blvd. at Oracle, Sun City Bvld., Tangerine with a frequency that suggests they clone overnight.

Signs cost money. Five candidates choose tasteful smaller versions demonstrating cautious spending. How will Solomon exercise fiscal responsibility in office when he spends so lavishly on his campaign? Does his decision reflect concern for voters wishes about fiscal responsibility?

Solomon’s recent legal events suggest financial difficulties. Does anyone wonder what special interest is bankrolling his campaign?

Solomon places signs where they stand alone. Does he understand that a Councilman is one of six, not the leader? If elected will he respect other Councilpersons and voters or work only for his own goals? Or will he dominate the Council like his signs ignore Town ordinances?

One candidate placed his signs in the median. 16-1019 states in C(3), “The sign is not placed in a location that is hazardous to public safety...” Ironically this candidate is backed by Law Enforcement and a law enforcement officer. While he complied and removed the signs, one wonders about this detail.

The devil is in the details, voters. We see the details and have a choice of who will work for our best interests.


P. Michelle Saxer, Oro Valley

Questions to consider with Melvin’s plan

With all due respect, Senator Melvin and friend Brinkley are not Engineers.

As an engineer, I question their integrity. Melvin’s voting record to fund only private and parochial schools is anathema to funding traditional public schools.  The water scarce desert is not the place for reactors. Their dream may be possible.

But, like colonizing the moon, at what cost and why?  We have reusable energy free from the sun and geothermal energy closer than the salt beds.

The “salesmen” were self-serving and deceiving in their “facts”. They made no mention of the cost per kilowatt/hour for the electricity generated by WIPP, including the costs for storage forever. 

Their labor costs were excessive for a city the size of Carlsbad, yet they never mention the size of the reactor.  Neither do the authors mention anything about cooling.  How is that accomplished in our desert since the fuel will burn hotter than traditional reactors.

Melvin ignores the fact that the unburned 4 percent of the rod is too hot to bury for 15 years. He touts the French for their nuclear program, but they have shut down a recycling reactor and are waiting 60 years for it to be safe. Melvin states the navy has operated nuclear subs and carriers without incident.  Not so according to Wikipedia. I salute our sailors, but nothing so complex can be operated without incident.  Ships are surrounded with cooling water. The sea has been used as a cover for many incidents. The secrecy of the mission allows the Captain to determine what accidents to report. The reactor scuttled off the East Coast; two lost submarines and a submarine flooded in San Francisco Bay are accidents.

Why doesn’t Melvin lead Arizona in negotiating with Mexico to locate his project on an island or a beach in the Gulf, and combine it with desalination (lots of salt)?  Then, one could believe their safe, easy transportation access statements (by ship) .  This international arrangement would truly be an historic event.


Ben F. Love, Oro Valley

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