The field is mostly set for Oro Valley’s recall election in November, with the mayor and three council members likely facing challenges.
The field is mostly set for Oro Valley’s recall election in November, with the mayor and three council members facing challenges.
The four incumbents — Mayor Satish Hiremath and councilmembers Lou Waters, Joe Hornat and Mary Snider — all chose to defend their seats. Four challengers, Patrick Straney for mayor and Steve Didio, Ryan Hartung and Shirl Lamonna for council, have announced they will run in opposition. While I am writing this, some of the challengers still have signatures to gather to formally earn a place on the ballot. A fifth person has also taken out a packet to possibly run for one of the seats, but that person has not publicly identified himself and has not turned in the packet yet.
I have been pretty clear from day one that I would not publicly pick sides in this election. I actually see valid points from each. Just look at the issue that really started the momentum for a recall, the purchase of the El Conquistador golf course.
The four sitting members of the council voted for the purchase for several reasons, three that resonate with me. No. 1, anytime you can purchase hundreds of acres of prime real estate in Oro Valley for $1 million, that’s a good buy. No. 2, by the town owning the land, it controls the fate of the property forever. No. 3, after years of people asking for a community center, the purchase was a quick and cost-effective way to get one.
But I can also see the validity of the views from the opposition. They feel the purchase happened too quickly — only two weeks from when it was made public to completion — and without enough public input. They also feel the tax increase that followed was not necessary. When members of the public questioned the purchase, before and after it was done, they feel the council just ignored them.
As the campaigns heat up in the coming weeks and months, I would like to offer some advice for those running.
No. 1 and most important, don’t make the campaign a personal attack against your opponent. Here’s the deal. This campaign will feature eight people who live in and love Oro Valley. They have all agreed to put themselves on the line to serve the city. Let’s talk about the issues — the golf course, land use, police department, taxes — but let’s not see personal attacks.
No. 2, tell the voters why you are the best choice. The people in Oro Valley are smart. They know why the recall is happening. They understand the key issues facing the town. So over the next few months, tell the voters why you as a candidate will be the best person to lead the town into the future.
No. 3, talk about the future of Oro Valley. There has been a lot of talk about the general plan, which outlines land use proposals and other ideas for the future of Oro Valley. I would like to hear what these candidates have to say about the next three years on the terms they are running for. But I’d also like to see what they think about the next decade. How do they view the future of Oro Valley. What is their vision and how can they lead the town to that point.
No. 4, when the election is over, let the winners govern. Regardless of who wins, shake their hands, walk away and let the results stand. One recall is enough.
If the candidates follow those suggestions and lay out their vision clearly, Oro Valley will be the winner when this is all said and done.