If it were any other year, the month of June in my day planner would be filled with trips to the El Conquistador resort and Sun City in Oro Valley and local firehouses and schools in Marana as I cover candidate forums and debates ahead of town council elections Aug. 4.
As I have said before (and as we all know), this is not a normal year, so the normal plan to cover an election just doesn’t work. With a distinct lack of public events and Q&A sessions, Tucson Local Media has delivered candidate surveys to the hard working men and women looking for a place on either the Oro Valley or Marana town councils. In addition to basic biographical information, these surveys contain a series of questions designed to help residents better understand their prospective leaders.
Starting on page 4 of the print edition this week, we’re rolling out the first installment in this year’s election series by covering the race in Oro Valley.
Election coverage actually kicked off last year when Pima County District 1 Supervisor Ally Miller announced in December that she would not seek reelection. Shortly after Miller’s announcement, Oro Valley Councilmember Rhonda Piña announced her intentions to run for the county seat.
The rumor mill began to swirl after Piña’s announcement as members of the public discussed who would run to fill the soon-to-be empty town council seat—in addition to potential opponents for incumbents Bill Rodman and Steve Solomon. We waited until March for an answer, when former councilmember William “Bill” Garner and resident Timothy Bohen submitted nominating petitions. On the other side of the coin, resident Harry “Mo” Greene has joined the incumbents to run as a group.
Now the clock is ticking towards the release of mail-in ballots in early July, which will more than likely make up most of the votes this year thanks to COVID-19.
The fate of the town-owned golf courses and community center, pension funding, housing and commercial developments and plenty more contentious issues are up for grabs in this year’s elections as candidates begin to hammer out their platforms.
Next week we take a look at the competition in Marana.