City/Town Born: Los Angeles, California
Siblings: Two brothers Michael, 58 and Matthew ,48; two sisters Mary, 59 and Maureen, 54
Significant Other and Children: Not married no children
Education: BS Physics UC Irvine 1986, MS Manufacturing Engineering USC 1995, MBA Loyola Marymount 2001
Job History: 35 years in aerospace engineering
Volunteer Experience: Red Cross Platelets donor, mediator for AZ Attorney General’s Office, Past President of Oro Valley Toastmasters, Oro Valley Historic Preservation Commission 2018-2020
How long have you lived in Oro Valley, and why did you move here?
I moved to Oro Valley in July 2015 to accept a new job at Honeywell.
What do you appreciate about the community?
I appreciate the quiet, the open space, the beautiful views and small-town feel. But I also enjoy that we are not far from Tucson or Phoenix when the amenities of a larger city are desired. I also appreciate that our residents care deeply about what happens in their local government. This level of interest in Oro Valley government is notably higher than any other place I have lived.
Explain the circumstances which led to you running for town council.
I have followed our Town Council meetings closely since 2016. I attend as many as possible in person because the interaction between council and residents is important to me. While attending I noted a dismissive and patronizing attitude of the 2016-2018 council towards the input from certain residents. In my view, that council seemed to readily dismiss new information from residents that did not match what was provided by staff. I think the preferred approach would be to attempt to corroborate any new information before dismissing it. In my career I have consistently seen that information from unexpected but interested sources is often critical to fully understanding a problem and the best path forward. If we want to mitigate the risk of our decisions, we have to be open to and evaluate information we may not expect to receive.
In 2018, four new council members were elected. I see a great change in the way our council meetings are conducted. I also see council members unafraid to seek independent corroboration of information provided by staff when required. Corroboration of key information can mitigate the risks of a decision. I think Oro Valley Town Council is on a better path at the present and I wish to help keep the positive momentum going.
Why do you believe now is the right time for you to make a run for council?
The 2018 election was a great victory for us residents. The open and undue influence of nonresident money on our town council decision making was particularly prevalent from 2016-18. Oro Valley needs to work with the outside world. But, as a resident, I expect my town council to place the needs of current residents first and foremost. In terms of resident candidates funded by resident contributions, I think every town council election is the right time for such candidates.
Why should residents vote for you?
Residents should vote for me because I am already training myself to be the best town council member I can be upon election. I follow and research our town council and planning and zoning agenda items as if I were being asked to provide my input and vote on each. I challenge other candidates not currently serving on town council to do the same. If you really want the job, and want to do it well from day one, why should you wait to be elected to do it?
Also, I have no political aspirations beyond being a member of the Oro Valley Town Council representing our residents. If nonresident money wishes to address me as a council member, they can readily do so from the public lectern at our public meetings.
What goals do you hope to accomplish as a council member?
I hope to look back and say I gave my best effort to the job and I helped to drive good decisions that benefited the majority of Oro Valley residents over the long term. Council members do not determine the environment they work in. Town council as a whole can accomplish great things. I will work with my fellow town council members to overcome the challenges Oro Valley will face in the next four years.
What are Oro Valley’s greatest strengths and how would you maintain them?
We have a town government that is staffed by hard working individuals with high morale. The residents of Oro Valley take their role of preparing each General Plan seriously and we see it by their volunteer participation. This active engagement and long-term investment by both residents and Staff in Oro Valley’s future are a huge asset to our Town.
Another strength is Oro Valleys deep pool of talented residents who make themselves available to serve on commissions. Commissions not only advise our town council. Commissions also provide the exact level of participation in town government that many of our residents desire. I hope that councils will continue to listen to the resident to resident discussions that are only possible in commission meetings and are not possible in our council meetings. I also hope Oro Valley will hear from as many different resident commission members as possible in the coming years. To do this, Oro Valley must actively encourage residents to become first time commission members.
What are Oro Valley’s weaknesses and how would you alter and/or improve them?
Oro Valley is challenged by a location and infrastructure that is no longer suited to rapid growth. Oro Valley has already completed its era of rapid growth. There remains open infill land within our borders which is not well suited to either commercial or residential development of greater density than the zoning allows at this point. When zoning change requests are made for our infill parcels, council must insist applicants demonstrate the benefit of the change for Oro Valley overall. Residents can be certain I will ask the tough questions with respect to zoning changes on infill parcels.
In my view, Oro Valley has an applicant friendly culture with respect to zoning changes. The current burden seems to be on staff to meet developer needs on developer timetables. Why is our staff doing the applicants work for them? While serving on council, I will consistently speak up and ensure the workload and detailed knowledge of each new request is mainly borne by the applicant, with our staff being in an oversight role. Staff simply cannot check their own work as well as they can check and verify the applicants work. I will also question staff about the specific rationale for each change approval they provide to council. Seeing only “staff approves” and citing that the change in the view of Staff complies with selected elements of the 2016 General Plan is too common and is simply not enough.
An additional challenge for Oro Valley in 2020 is the lack of a public meeting space controlled by our town which is large enough for all of our neighborhood and council meetings. It is discouraging and burdensome for residents to need to stand through open ended neighborhood and council meetings that may go on for hours. A community center in fact and not only in name would have space to comfortably hold neighborhood and council meetings where it is anticipated that public input will be significant. If the town decides to consider the creation of a town-owned public meeting space to accommodate groups of up to 500, I would be in support of this idea. Enclosed community space owned by the town of this size would find many uses throughout the year.
If elected, what steps would you take to maintain or improve the town’s financial position?
Maintaining our current strong financial position involves monitoring our sales taxes revenues closely. New responsibilities taken on by new growth must always be critically analyzed in public meetings. With respect to public safety and water, currently I see too much reliance on the verbal assessments of key individuals and too little actionable data presented to council to support these assessments. In our system of government, town council owns the final decision. Council must have the most current data in a form they can act on regardless of how we may have worked in the past.
What do you believe the role of the General Plan is in relation to the work of the town council, and when (if ever) should it be amended?
Our series of General Plans have served Oro Valley well to date. These state mandated General Plans force Oro Valley to consider the long term direction of our town. The plan document is an invaluable resource to council as it records the thinking of our resident team which drafted the plan. I think General Plan land use amendments should be rare and the new benefits must be clear and compelling. Projected new costs from the amendment must be conservatively estimated. Most importantly, General Plan amendments must gain notable resident support, not just applicant and staff support.
How would you foster economic development and job growth within the community, and what kind of jobs do you think Oro Valley needs?
Oro Valley needs to seek new employers which will not be hindered by our unique location. Employers such as Roche Ventana thrive in Oro Valley because they add significant intellectual value within Oro Valley and sell worldwide. Oro Valley’s logistical challenges are easily overcome by employers such as Roche Ventana. I appreciate that this narrows the supply of employers Oro Valley should pursue. But bringing new employers to Oro Valley at the expense of permanently altering the character of the town is simply not worth the exchange.The overall impact on current residents of any new large employer must be carefully evaluated.
How do you plan to involve residents in the decision making process in the town?
Bohen 4 OV are already involving residents in the decision making in our campaign. Thus I will already be prepared to involve our residents from my first day on council. Listening to our residents’ concerns from the public lectern, in social media and in letters to the editor, or wherever these concerns may be expressed is part of town council’s job.
What do you believe should be done with the former Vistoso golf property? Do you agree with the council’s decision to move towards maintaining it as open space?
I agree with the current council’s decision to move forward towards working with the Conservation Fund with the aim of dedicating the property as open space. Dedicated open space with a walking trail is the best option for Oro Valley and for Rancho Vistoso in particular. If elected to council and Romspen decides to proceed with their General Plan amendment request, I will vote against it in December 2020. Rancho Vistoso residents have a reasonable expectation that the recreational area that they paid a premium for when purchasing their homes should remain as a recreational area.
What do you think should be done with the town-owned golf courses, community center and associated amenities? Would you have voted to purchase them in 2014?
I would not have voted to make this purchase in December 2014. The questions in the council meeting asked by the public as well as by opposition council members Brendan Burns, Mike Zinkin and Bill Garner were appropriate. Having answers to these questions at the time of the purchase decision would have benefited our town.
Not only was our purchase decision regrettable, but Oro Valley could have greatly reduced our losses to date by demanding more transparency in Troon’s accounting. Also, we should have incentivized Troon to meet their revenue projections from the start. The awarding of a base bonus fee to Troon of $12,000 per month regardless of results simply encouraged Troon to continue on their chosen path even though shortfalls in projected revenues were evident almost immediately. Allocating the entire half-cent tax subsidy to the Community Center Fund at the start of each year was another mistake. Oro Valley should have instead asked Troon for a year end accounting and reimbursed Troon only for revenue shortfalls Troon could not reasonably control. This would have encouraged Troon to watch their expenses closely from the start. If Troon would not accept such an arrangement, Oro Valley needed to be free to contract with a management company that would, or manage the courses themselves. Our painful experience with our Troon management contract must be a lesson learned for Oro Valley.
From the point of view of a golfer, the Town-owned courses are adequate for public play as-is and have been since 2015. Any further infrastructure investment in the golf courses must be funded by users’ fees such as increased greens fees.
How would you manage town growth as Oro Valley reaches build out?
Oro Valley must carefully manage our town build-out parcel by parcel. Incremental revenues anticipated from zoning changes must be reviewed in detail in public meetings. The public must be given an opportunity to ask questions about the town's analysis of increased revenue projections due to zoning changes, including any assumptions made. New entitlements granted for build out must be balanced against the impacts to our public safety, water supply and traffic.
What are your views on current plans to redevelop the Oro Valley Marketplace?
I think detailed analysis is required to show that Town West’s plan will be to the overall benefit of the 45,000 residents of Oro Valley. This analysis should have been prepared well in advance of any purchase from Vestar. This property would almost certainly still be available for purchase at any time Oro Valley would have analysis in hand which shows the win-win for both Town West and Oro Valley. Town West’s clear confidence that they would get their desired zoning is troubling. Town West has not yet shown analysis to our residents why it is in the best interest of Oro Valley as a whole to grant their zoning change requests. To me, this is further evidence of the applicant friendly culture which currently pervades our zoning change process.
If you received a $1 million grant for use anywhere in Oro Valley, what would you fund?
I would allocate this grant towards the playground at Naranja Park. Naranja Park is already a wonderful sports facility. Families with older kids playing sports at Naranja Park can use a playground for their younger kids.This playground is an opportunity to get an indisputable long-term benefit for Oro Valley from the grant.