There is no excuse for Oro Valley voters to sit this one out. Local elections are far more important than state and national elections when it comes to our quality of life in Oro Valley. Yet, smart and well-intentioned voters are wondering what they can do about the recall election. Start by paying attention. Consider how good things are in Oro Valley. Filter out the noise. See for yourself what makes sense to you.
Be certain that the information you have is factual, reliable and correct. Ask the critics who complain about the new apartments which ones they are going to tear down? When they gripe about the establishment of the community center, ask them why they have a problem with the town buying 324 acres that private sector developers would have used to build more homes. There were no back room deals. Views have not been ruined. Taxes have not been doubled.
The replacement value of the Oro Valley Community & Recreation Center is $42 million. The town bought it for $1 million. The funding is already in place, without drawing on the general fund. If there were a comparable site, it would provide less and cost more; over $20 million to install the infrastructure and to build. There is no money for that now nor in the future without borrowing, which would add $7 million in interest to the cost.
Our elected office-holders are defending their decisions and have persuasive reasons to back them up. Their adversaries are withholding information when it does not satisfy nefarious purposes. The clamoring office-seekers are trying to convince you that they know something you don’t. They do not know as much as the first-rate town staff, and all the residents who are enjoying extraordinary recreational activities and facilities.
Beware of the reactionary and opportunistic contrarians, because they are ignoring the big picture and are hoping that you will do the same. They haven’t a clue what it takes to make Oro Valley a community of excellence. The things they are railing against have already happened. Going forward, it is essential that Oro Valley invests to serve families and to attract employers.
As for the candidates who are touting transparency as a reason for running, they got that right. Hopefully you will see right through them. The recall effort is not noble and it is not necessary. Citizens who sincerely want to make common sense more common in Oro Valley can run in the next regularly scheduled election. Then if they succeed, they will indeed add to the majority that is acting responsibly.
Five years ago, Satish Hiremath was elected by the narrowest of margins. One year ago he was re-elected with 60 percent of the vote. Joe Hornat, Mary Snider and Lou Waters also were re-elected by substantial majorities. They have acted successfully and in good faith to manage costs. Had our taxes been doubled, we would be paying $996 to Oro Valley. Residents pay Oro Valley approximately $448 per year, per household. Oro Valley does not levy a property tax.
The referendum and recall process is costing taxpayers in excess of $80,000. The petitioners are the reason we are seeing campaign signs out of season. They are running now because they would not stand a chance against these incumbents in a regularly scheduled election.
The future of Oro Valley is in your hands. You can retain the common sense majority serving on the town council by voting to affirm the record of Hiremath, Hornat, Snider and Waters.
The people of Oro Valley deserve better than what the wannabes represent. When you hear provocative and absurd nonsense, recognize it for what it is. The challengers are relying on fear-based anxiety to rile you up because they know human beings do not think clearly when we are angry. They want you to fall for ill-advised arguments that pertain only to imaginary problems.
The opposition candidates are determined to win by any means. They have launched attacks on decent people. They want voters to cast their ballots from a fixed position that has nothing to do with the character of the mayor and council members whose seats they covet. It is time for Oro Valley voters to uphold the incumbents. Their opponents would have dreamt up another issue if the community center had not become a reality.
It takes $328,000 every day to operate the town of Oro Valley and to maintain an adequate fund balance. Mayor Hiremath, Vice-Mayor Waters and council members Snider and Hornat are very smart about budgeting for the use of available federal, state and county funds. They have been decisive in cutting costs while improving services. They avoided at least $27 million in debt, because they purchased the community center outright.
By the time the voting ends on Nov. 3, more ballots will have been left on the kitchen counter or thrown out with the trash than counted after the polls close. The awful and untrue things being said about Satish, Joe, Mary and Lou will have an inordinate influence if you can’t be bothered to vote. Retaining the incumbents will make a difference in terms of stability, regional cooperation and the morale of all town employees.
Satish Hiremath, Joe Hornat, Mary Snider and Lou Waters are good people doing great things for Oro Valley. Satish accepts no salary for his service as mayor. Joe volunteers on behalf of veterans. Mary works to improve the safety of students. Lou has a heart for seniors and building community. They have no agenda other than the betterment of our town and the well-being of all residents.