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BAIT AND SWITCH?

The most discouraging thing to me is being lied to. Or in this case, outright deceived. Just when I thought the mayor had heard the voice of the people on saving the community center and golf courses, he and the vice mayor come up with a scheme to make sure it doesn’t happen by not properly funding these valuable assets. Our town manager, Mary Jacobs, and her expert staff have put forth recommendations to proactively and cost-effectively finance the necessary capital improvements for the community center and golf courses over the next three years.

Whereas, the mayor and vice mayor are putting actions in motion to do what they ultimately wanted to do, close them down. By insisting on a “pay-as-you-go” method, they are dragging vital improvements to these town-owned recreational facilities out by years, which would increase construction and water costs, and ultimately make the properties harder to maintain, thus increasing overall costs.

And by not supporting what is needed to modernize and maintain the community center and golf courses, there is no way they will meet the criteria that the mayor set forth in order to keep them open. Maybe that was his plan all along? So much for supporting the will of the people.

But we can do something. Unlike national politics, removing ineffective public servants who are elected into local governments can be done by the people. Recall petitions are being circulated throughout Oro Valley. And when your neighbor comes to your door to ask for your support, please sign your name to protect the value of our town, and elect honest and competent leaders who will serve the best interests of Oro Valley residents and protect its beauty and value.

—Jane Shurtleff, Tucson

THANK YOU, JOYCE

A significant vote occurred at the Nov. 6 town council meeting. Mayor Winfield entered a motion to prematurely interrupt the current liaison assignments with the obvious intent to stack next year’s boards and commissions in his favor. His rationale for the motion was a smokescreen that fooled no one in the room. Regardless, his intent was to force the motion through on the party line of Winfield, Barrett, Nicholson and Jones-Ivy as he has done repeatedly since assuming office.

Now, council member Jones-Ivey had just returned from a very recent knee re placement surgery. If you’ve ever had knee replacement surgery, you will understand that this is a big deal. It took a few minutes to unsnarl the actual motion and succeeding amendments as the town lawyer and council stumbled over a Robert’s Rules Gordian knot, but in the resulting vote Jones-Ivey broke with the party line and spearheaded a 4 to 3 vote to defeat the mayor’s motion. This was a clear victory for common sense, something that our U.S. Congress could use. 

Some time ago I wrote to the Explorer to lament the current state of affairs in council chambers. By virtue of his control of a council majority, the mayor is unchecked and runs the town to suit himself. Typically this means rejecting staff recommendations followed by a focus on minutia at the expense of the big picture. The result has been chaos. I stated that whoever broke their tie to the mayor, whether Barrett, Nicholson or Jones-Ivey, that person would have my lasting respect. 

Jones-Ivey, you have it. Thank you for your service to Oro Valley.

—Don Schmidt, Oro Valley

SUPPOSED LEADERS

Disingenuous is the word that comes to my mind.  The mayor, vice mayor and sidekick have shown their true colors by pushing the “pay as you go” concept, by which they quite obviously intend to preclude the golf courses and community center from meeting the goals agreed to.  They have made clear to everyone how two faced, deceitful, underhanded and double dealing they are.  They requested guidance from Oro Valley’s professional staff and town manager and then chose to totally ignore the competent and well thought out advice and recommendation.  

They did this not just because they think they are more expert than their professional staff (which they clearly are not), they did it because of their clear agenda to close the golf courses regardless of the consequence of a most likely drop in property values and regardless of the will of the majority of people of Oro Valley.  Their deceitfulness will cost far more than the additional $790,000 over the town manager’s recommendation for funding.  It is pure chicanery to say “let’s keep the two golf courses”, even take out a membership to make the mayor look like a good guy, and then turn around and act to make funding the improvements impossible within the guidelines agreed to.

 Couple this with their total disregard of the local police chief in choice of his successor (“national” search at ridiculous additional cost to the taxpayers) and they are endangering the security of the community with a potential personnel upheaval at the police department.  

 In short, their actions and agenda are polarizing this town and endangering the longstanding values of living in Oro Valley.  They are supposed to be leaders.  Sad to say, leadership is the last adjective I would ever attribute to any of the three of them.

 —Bill Wissler, Oro Valley 

OVPD Prepared

The detour for the La Cañada and Moore Road roundabout is the street I live on, North Copper Spring Trail. La Cañada has sidewalks and a much higher speed limit. North Copper Spring Trail has no sidewalks, is a winding road and has a speed limit of 25 miles an hour. I would like to thank all the drivers who have showed consideration by respecting the speed limit and the safety of my many neighbors who do a lot of walking on our street. 

For those of you who were not so considerate, I would like to thank the Oro Valley Police Department. I am writing to request that the drivers who were using our street as a detour to please return to the La Cañada route where there are sidewalks and you can go 20 miles an hour faster. I’m also requesting the OVPD to keep an eye on our street as drivers adjust to returning to using La Cañada. Speeding on North Copper Spring Trail with no sidewalks and being a winding road is very dangerous and returning to walking safely would be appreciated. 

—Pam Furrie, Oro Valley

SCARE TACTIC

A common theme among the golf course crowd is, “If we close one or both 18-hole courses, a developer will come in and develop that land.” This is a scare tactic and cannot happen for a couple of reasons

State law mandates that the town cannot sell any asset worth over $500,000 without a vote of its citizens. The town can purchase land without citizen consent, but cannot sell land without citizen consent.

The purchase agreement between the town and HSL states “the Resort Course (Pusch Ridge) and the La Cañada Course shall be deed restricted so that such courses are only used as golf courses, open space, or recreational amenities.…”

Therefore, if the town wishes to utilize the Conquistador course as its only course, they are restricted as to what they can do with the Cañada course. They cannot use it for anything other than open space or recreation.

—Mike Zinkin, Oro Valley

Editor’s Note: Mike Zinkin is a former Oro Valley Council Member.

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