Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath delivered his first State of the Town address last Thursday.

It was properly a tone-setter, sharing bigger visions and approach as compared to the nitty-gritty details of running a community. All that comes later, though it was good to hear references to the pursuit of annexations and the refinement of economic development strategies.

This day, the mayor made a fundamental point. The intent of his administration is to always demonstrate respect, for colleagues, for employees, for children, seniors, businesses, residents, guests … everyone. He does not want employees to work or manage in fear. He knows that when the proper tone is in place, when all people are heard and appreciated and respected, the important work of government can move forward.

Hiremath and others in positions of power showed they could poke a little fun at themselves. At the conclusion of Oro Valley's new economic development video, the town staff included very funny "blooper" outtakes, the inevitable awkward moments that come with any filming. And they played Aretha Franklin singing "R-E-S-P-E-C-T." It reinforced a point, and it showed none of us should take ourselves too seriously. Nice.

Hiremath gets all that. That's why he was, and remains, a good choice as mayor of Oro Valley.

About 450 people recorded the Arizona-Iowa football game, or simply ignored it, to attend Saturday night's 11th annual Jazz Legends concert at the Hilton El Conquistador.

They had quite a treat, and didn't miss a beat.

The animated piano player Shelly Berg, the veteran Los Angeles rhythm section of drummer Frank Capp and bass player Chuck Berghofer, tenor sax man Houston Person, trombonist John Allred and trumpet player Scotty Barnhart led the audience through Duke Ellington, playing with a mastery that's, truly, of elite caliber, even to the uneducated ear.

Add in vocalist Barbara Morrison, who carried the second set with the works of Ella Fitzgerald, and the Northwest had one more premier event.

It happens every year largely because of Al and Marilyn Cook, who love jazz and culture and the place they live, and want to help it find its rhythm. They also want young musicians to excel, which is why 50 of them came to the El Conquistador on Saturday afternoon to listen to, and learn from, the best. The Cooks were recognized for their efforts at Saturday's show, as they should be.

We highly recommend next year's show. While we love football, we're also big fans of highlight shows.

For those (presumably few) of you following this newspaper's attempt to schedule a one-on-one debate between Sen. Al Melvin and challenger Cheryl Cage, the latest is …

There won't be a debate at Mountain View High School on Thursday, Sept. 30. Cage plans to be at the school that evening; Melvin does not plan to attend. He wants the debate to take place at another site.

So we're going to try and make those arrangements, at a place and time to be determined.


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