Letters to Editor

General or not

Regarding July 11 letter “A General’s Support”: I was amused by retired General John Wickham’s letters extolling Mayor Hiremath’s character first in the Arizona Daily Star and more recently in the Explorer. The mayor was endorsed also by Reverend James Briney in a “Special to the Arizona Star.” Seriously? They must be observing a different Hiremath than the one I have observed in his role as mayor of Oro Valley.

Hiremath has misled residents and lied continually to the media. These are but a few of some of Hiremath’s misrepresentations: “It wasn’t a backroom deal,” “Golf will be profitable in year four,” “The town got a turnkey community center,” “We put the 454 bond on the ballot to respond to the outcry for youth fields,” “We had no skin in the game” and “I am not Mahra.” And so it goes on and on.

Regarding the mayor’s character, Hiremath called former councilmember Bill Garner a liar on talk radio. He wrote the Arizona State Bar in an effort to get former councilmember Brendan Burns disbarred and he led an unsuccessful recall of former councilmember Mike Zinkin, including authoring Explorer opinion pieces.

And finally, Hiremath began his reelection campaign by calling his opponent Joe Winfield disingenuous for highlighting the town-reported golf operating losses. Hiremath has tried to hide the extent of these losses through an accounting shell game which treats sales taxes as golf revenue. No, Mr. Mayor, my sales taxes are not greens fees.

If you do what is right and you do what is fair, everything else takes care of itself. If the residents of Oro Valley desire a leader with character, then Joe Winfield is the candidate for whom they should vote.

—Susan Ross


Chilling rationale

Regarding July 18 article “Satish Hiremath hoping to continue…”: Hiremath gave a chilling final rationale for being re-elected: “We don’t have the systems and the protocol and the plans in place for other mayors and other councils to step in seamlessly to actually keep this going.” Why the heck not? What kind of convoluted mess lies behind the secured doors of the Oro Valley government? 

Oro Valley residents should expect a mayor, town council members, and town employees to organize, manage and document their work on an ongoing basis. Isn’t that one of the foundations of a town’s excellence? What chaos, loose ends and under-the-table shenanigans are the mayor and council obfuscating or hiding? If the competent challengers win the election, how will the outgoing mayor and council spend the transition time?

Shredding, burning and looting the town or working to ensure a smooth, if not seamless transfer of power? I certainly hope the latter. 

Mayor Hiremath’s statement should be a red flag warning that the town administration is no smoothly oiled machine but a duct-taped mess. I do not support the incumbents in the upcoming election.

—Lois Berkowitz



Re-elect our leaders

I recently received an email endorsed by the Oro Valley Town Council challengers Barrett, Jones-Ivey, Nicolson and Winfield in which they pledged to “pause on large scale re-zonings while we assess the needs and desires of our community.” I am stunned! They appear to have forgotten, or are simply ignoring, the General Plan update, Your Voice, Our Future, enacted by OV voters in November 2016. This detailed plan for the future of OV was approved by an overwhelming amount of the voters. The nature and extent of community outreach over several years was extensive: tens of thousands of households reached, over a thousand public comments on multiple drafts of the plan and hundreds of surveys completed to name just a few of the activities. In addition, the town has received recognition from the Arizona Planning Association as “Best Public Outreach.” 

Why on Earth would we want to once again “assess the needs and desires of the community”? Haven’t we already done that less than two years ago?

We need strong thoughtful leadership to take Oro Valley forward, leaders who already know full well the needs and desires of our community. Please join me in re-electing Mayor Hiremath and councilmembers Lou Waters, Joe Hornat and Mary Snider for another term on the Oro Valley Town Council.

—Bill Leedy

 Gone Fishing

Do any of the opposition candidates or any of you have any substantial evidence to demonstrate that contributions have had any influence on outcomes? Is it possible that the developments were a good idea, followed the guidelines in the General Plan and the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Ordinance? It seems that all of the prior residential development has sold, and there is a market for more. We don’t have a large inventory of unsold homes. After all, all of you bought a home that was once in the hands of a developer and/or builder. Is it possible that the town council wannabes and their supporters make political contributions an issue just because it is a juicy sound bite?

I submit to you that there isn’t a single shred of evidence that any favoritism has been demonstrated at any level. I don’t know of any town council person (including those I didn’t like), Planning and Zoning commissioner, town staff member or building inspector that has ever shown preference to any developer. If it’s a good idea, benefits the community, meets the codes of Oro Valley, is compliant with the general plan, it gets passed. It’s just that simple. 

And I challenge any of you to show evidence to the contrary! If not, please quit insulting the intelligence of the bulk of the Oro Valley residents. The political contributions you reference are nothing more than a fat red herring that is thrown out there every time there is an election.

—Don Cox

A shared vision

I have worked with the Mayor and the Oro Valley Town Council as a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission for the last three years. My interactions with Mayor Hiremath, councilmembers Waters, Hornat and Snider have been direct, professional and, most importantly, focused on what is best for Oro Valley. I have also worked with former Planning and Zoning Commission colleague, Melanie Barrett, who is a candidate for council. After much consideration, I believe the current members of Council are the best choices for Oro Valley. 

The town faces a major decision in the upcoming election. The decision revolves around whether we see Oro Valley as a progressive, forward-looking town or whether we want to see Oro Valley as it was 20 years ago. We need leadership with a vision for the future. We need leadership that understands the reality and the consequences of our changing demographics and the commitment to stimulate economic growth that will make Oro Valley not only a desirable place to live but also to work. 

Hiremath, Hornat, Snider and Waters share a vision that will continue the progress we have made and the commitment to see this vision move forward in the future. 

—Charlie Hurt

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