While political pundits debate the possibility of a “Blue Wave” sweeping the nation this November, a yellow tide rolled into Oro Valley last week.
Anyone traveling through the town this summer saw that wave coming. Some would honk their horns, some sneered at the coming tide, but all took note as groups of smiling Oro Valley residents began to find their way to busy street corners on the weekends and afternoons.
Men and women of all ages, braving the Arizona summer, wearing yellow T-shirts and holding signs to support the one constant in politics: change.
The great engine often driving our local democratic institutions, the desire for change in the Town of Oro Valley was chronicled in the pages of this newspaper, across social media posts, at town meetings and in the theorizing of various blogs. Change manifested in the form of four residents: Joseph Winfield, Melanie Barrett, Joyce Jones-Ivey and Josh Nicolson.
Having successfully unseated the incumbents on the Oro Valley Town Council, those four people now have their hands on the wheel when it comes to the town’s future.
A hearty congratulations to the town’s soon-to-be mayor and councilmembers.
The outgoing mayor and councilmembers should see this election as the same cosmic force which brought them to the council chambers roughly eight years ago, that same desire for change. They should leave with their heads held high.
Mayor Satish Hiremath and council members Lou Waters, Mary Snider and Joe Hornat have much to be proud of. Ask residents why they moved to Oro Valley, and many give you the same answer: Good roads, great police, high-achieving schools, burgeoning job opportunities and a plethora of arts and culture offerings.
While the mayor and council are not solely responsible for the town’s progress, the decisions made by those seven men and women play a major role in the development of the community so many have come to call home.
So, thank you, Satish, Mary, Lou and Joe, for all of your hard work over the years. Despite the vitriolic lens with which some in this community choose to analyze the actions of Town Council, I truly believe that everything the four of you did these years was done because you each thought it was the right thing to do.
I clearly see that same desire to do right for Oro Valley residents in the four men and women set to take over in November, as they wave the banner of change with great fervor.
This is democracy at work, in its purest form: Signs along roadways, flyers in the mail, videos and door-to-door campaigns—all with the intention of informing the voting populace and (arguably more importantly) mobilizing the vote.
That democratic process not only brought in a yellow wave, but the shining light of opportunity. The residents of Oro Valley have been given the chance to build a positive future for themselves alongside their newly elected officials, who will, over the next four years, be presented with countless decisions that carry the weight of the town’s continued prosperity.
Some of those decisions are obvious and stood at the forefront of this year’s political contest. The golf courses, continued development and the town’s fiscal management are some of the future decisions that will influence the course Oro Valley takes in the coming years.
I, for one, am excited to see the democratic machine continue to turn, turn, turn.
While voters in Oro Valley have clearly asked for a new direction from its elected leaders, the residents of Marana carried with them the exact opposite message into the polling booths last week: They like things the way they are.
Though much less dramatic in fashion, the message from Marana residents this year should be taken in greater context: Don’t fix what isn’t broken. If the people like the course they’re on as a community, it seems the best course of action would be to maintain that momentum.
We here at The Explorer and Marana News will remain dedicated to continued coverage of issues concerning Marana, Oro Valley and the surrounding communities that make up Tucson’s north side—and remain committed to the same philosophies that have successfully guided us these recent years: Honesty, integrity and transparency in the newsroom.
While we have our own set of challenges, I am extremely proud of all we’ve accomplished thus far, and look forward to even more surprising moments on the horizon.