Regarding Nov. 13 story “Local partners support new child protection law”: Thank you to the Explorer for an excellent cover story on local partners supporting the new Arizona Child Protection Act expanding civil statutes of limitations for survivors of abuse. This crucial topic deserved the front page it was afforded and is one way a community shows its concern for abuse victims.
Kathleen Kunz’s article was full of thoughtful quotes addressing the need to expand attempts for justice and healing. The article’s input from a range of agencies working on child advocacy was most appreciated.
I agree with State Rep. Alma Hernandez suggesting there should be no statute of limitations at all. The average age for a victim to remember abuse is 52, so this expansion to age 30, while helpful, is not enough.
—Vickie Jahaske, Catalina
LOOK AT FACTS
I prefer to look at the facts. After reviewing the options presented by the town staff, I question why the mayor and council would support “Pay As You Go” when that option could potentially cost $790,000 more than the staff’s recommendation of bonding and PAYG. As for me, I feel the mayor and council have a fiduciary responsibility to the residents to select options that are fiscally responsible. For those who favor PAYG, where are your numbers that support the town staff is not correct?
When I reviewed the town financials through September, revenues for the golf operations and community center are ahead of last year. The revenues in the town’s 2019-20 budget are also ahead of budget projections.
To say that the proposed budget proposed by town staff does not fix the irrigation problems or generates more revenue, has not studied the financial reports, facts, assumptions or budget projections.
Statements criticizing the town staff, without specific financial information, are disingenuous to the staff and the residents of Oro Valley. My opinion, if you read a letter without financial information or one that is not supported by facts, it is probably from one of the 10 percent you can never make happy.
—George J. Lindsay,
SUPPORT THE RECALL
When it comes to recalling Winfield and Barrett from the Oro Valley Town Council, first, they should have anticipated this a long time ago from their comments and actions, and second, the golf course is just the tip of the iceberg. The issues largely surround themselves with trust, integrity, governance, judgment, strategic vision for our town and disrespect for fellow council members as well as staff. In one breath, they praise the staff for their skill, competence and professionalism and in the next do just the antithesis. It should come as no surprise that staff are leaving.
For a council that campaigned on “transparency,” they conduct more stealthy meetings in “executive session” than their predecessors.
It is generally accepted in political circles that Winfield and Barrett have had a preferred candidate for retiring Chief Sharp’s position selected solely on subjective, idiosyncratic preferences rather than essential, professional experience that makes Oro Valley the safest community in Arizona. This just adds to how disingenuous, untrustworthy and wasteful of tax dollars their special interest policies are as opposed to those that are in the best interest of our town.
Support recalling Joe Winfield and Melanie Barrett to keep Oro Valley safe and thriving!
—James Prunty, Oro Valley
Chief Sharp clearly communicated to the council that based on his expertise and experience he supported an internal candidate process for selection of the police chief to replace him. When you look at Chief Sharp’s resume and accomplishments, you are not going to find anyone better suited to evaluate a candidate process to select a chief of police to serve the community he’s served so well for so many years.
The Oro Valley Police Department has provided service and safety in this community which is recognized throughout as the one of the best there is. Internal candidates not only understand this but they have been integral in maintaining this high standard. The understanding of the philosophy and approach by an internal candidate will provide a seamless continuation of the service this community expects.
The approach taken by Mayor Winfield and council majority to recruit police chief candidates outside of the Oro Valley Police Department is very disrespectful to Chief Sharp and the entire Oro Valley Police Department, as it disregards all of their recommendations and discounts their history of outstanding service in this community. Hearing from a mayor with such limited experience that his decision was reached after reviewing government management publications and talking to government peers shows he’s either out of touch with the Town of Oro Valley history and expectations, or there’s an ulterior motive not being disclosed.
Editor’s Note: Larry Stevens was a member of the Oro Valley Police Department from 1984 to 2017, and served as the Deputy Chief of Police for nearly 10 years.
PEACE AND JOY?
On Oct. 2, the night the Oro Valley Town Council voted to retain all 36 holes of golf, Jennifer Lefevre, organizer of the “Green Shirts,” stated in a KVOA news interview: “Thirty six holes means that there can be peace, there can be joy, and we can all come together to celebrate the amazing place we live in.”
Just five weeks later, Ms. Lefevre was collecting signatures to recall Mayor Joe Winfield and Vice Mayor Melanie Barrett. That is remarkably duplicitous behavior even by the standards of this politically contentious town. So much for peace and joy.
What’s notable is that they’re using the same scare tactics used by council member Steve Solomon in 2016: Closing the golf courses will destroy property values, save our public safety, prevent tax increases. These “coincidental” talking points led many to believe that Solomon was advising the Green Shirts from the beginning and that they would eventually morph into a secondary cause of recalling the mayor.
This suspicion was reinforced when Solomon was seen in attendance at their recall organization meeting held recently at the community center. A photo of this was published on the local political blog, Let Oro Valley Excel.
Solomon’s participation in the recall is rather hypocritical for a person who ran for council in 2016 on a civility platform. Back then he stated: “We need council members who will attack the issues facing our community rather than attacking each other.” Yet Solomon has done nothing but attack, exhibiting hostile and condescending behavior, ever since the Winfield council was elected one year ago.
The reasons for the recall are contrived. The real reason is that the people behind these machinations want to stack the political deck in their favor again with no dissent and no discussion.
In the midst of these theatrics, both Winfield and Barrett have remained civil, composed and professional. They have exhibited decorum despite antagonistic opposition.
As participating citizens and voters we should all be asking ourselves what’s in it for the antagonists? Why do they insist on having an ironclad grip on decision making in this town? I’ll leave those thoughts with the readers.
—Robert Peters, Oro Valley
DON’T EXCLUDE CANDIDATES
There has been a lot of discussion regarding the process for hiring a new police chief in Oro Valley. It seems that there is an intense discussion going on between advocates for hiring internally and those that propose looking to the outside, in addition to looking internally.
As a former CEO, when we looked to staff an executive position, that was extremely important, our board felt that we were obligated to look internally within the organization and externally.
Recently, the mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, hired the recently retired chief of the Los Angeles Police Department to serve as the police chief of Chicago. I’m sure she had many good candidates within the Chicago Police Department. However, she followed the process that required her to look inside the Chicago Police Department and outside the department.
Our Oro Valley Town Council should do the same. Process is extremely important in finding a new police chief for our town. We should not exclude external candidates.
—Jim Horn, Oro Valley
Another year, another recall petition drive for Oro Valley politicos, from another segment of whiney, angry residents with too much time on their hands. I’m not signing anything until it’s done right, that being a ballot initiative to abolish Oro Valley’s dysfunctional “at-large” council election scheme. It’s high time, and the city is big enough to have fixed council districts. If you bozos had done this five years ago, none of the latest foolishness would have happened.
—Bill Sellers, Oro Valley
The recall justification reasons provided by Thomas Plantz of Oro Valley Thrives are nonsense. This is self-evident.
From my perspective, the real reason for the recall is that the recall leaders want a developer-controlled town council again. Just like the Hiremath town council. If you vote for the recall, you will once again get the blading of desert to dirt and dust, disappearing saguaros, disappearing wildlife habitat, disappearing wildlife, five-foot setbacks, five-foot back yards and contempt for Oro Valley residents at Planning and Zoning hearings.
Mayor Winfield, Vice Mayor Barrett, Councilman Nicolson, and Councilwoman Jones-Ivey: I have been staggered by the amount of abuse you have taken. During this golf course discussion here is what you have been called: toxic, cowards, stupid, evil, lackeys, dangerous, irresponsible, liars, train wrecks and not honest. I cannot imagine the abuse you have taken via email.
I would say shame on Oro Valley Thrives, but that would be useless. Oro Valley Thrives should be renamed Oro Valley Divides. Oro Valley Thrives by fronting the recall is an object lesson in how to ruin a group’s reputation instantly.
Two of finest people in Oro Valley are Mayor Winfield and Vice Mayor Barrett. Both incredible talents. They are calm, self-assured, resilient, tough, humble, honest, ethical and moral. So how does Oro Valley Thrives take on incredible talents. With a smear campaign of course. It’s all they have. Those of us who voted for the Mayor and Vice Mayor saw the same tactics last year.
Finally, a word about pay-as-you-go. I have seen several Oro Valley Thrives social media comments that say that bonds need to be issued because Oro Valley will save money. That’s rich. When has Oro Valley Thrives ever cared about how much taxpayer money is spent on golf.
The council agreed to operate the 36 holes based on the commitments of town manager Jacobs. The town should only fund any approved improvements on a pay-as-you-go basis and ensure Jacobs delivers the reduced losses and increased revenue she has promised.
—Kim Krostue, Oro Valley
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