In her second run for a four-year seat on the Oro Valley Town Council, local Realtor and town booster Lyra L. Done believes she represents a silent majority, a majority content with the status quo.
"We don't hear from them," she said. "But look at the General Plan election - 10,000 people didn't even vote. When people are happy, they don't come out."
For the 67-year-old Done, a council seat signifies a natural progression from her extensive involvement with the town and her experience serving on the boards of many service and charitable organizations.
"I'm a person who gives back," she said. "I'm experienced in the town and I've been active since I moved up here. I have a lot I can give to benefit all residents of the town."
Like many residents, Done first got involved with the town through its popular Citizens Planning Institute course. She's served on the Budget and Bond Committee since 2000; and completed two terms on the Board of Adjustment and 18 months as executive committee vice chair of the Naranja Land Use Task Force.
Three big campaign issues for the candidate include the General Plan, financial sustainability and transportation.
She said she believes that the public needed better information about the updated General Plan, which was defeated by two-thirds of voters in November. "The town will have to educate the public in this next go-round," she said. "There was no way the plan endorsed property taxes, but the biggest thing that scared people was the idea of a property tax. There can never be a property tax unless people vote for it."
The candidate was referring to advertisements and signs placed by opponents to the plan which claimed passing the plan would lead to a town property tax.
Done, an accountant before she became a Realtor, said that because the idea of a property tax is distasteful to so many, the town must help new businesses flourish - including providing incentives - to ensure its financial sustainability.
"All my life I've worried about budgets and bottom lines. A lot of people don't understand it takes money to make money," she said. "Businesses are concerned with the bottom line. When the Ritz-Carlton comes in, what a jewel it will be in the crown of Oro Valley." The developers of the proposed Ritz-Carlton have an economic incentive agreement with the town.
"There will be some belt tightening," she said. "To maintain our quality of life, we'll have to have economic stability."
Done supports a regional transportation authority to tackle issues of traffic and gridlock, in and out of Oro Valley.
"Many of our issues are becoming regional, affecting everyone, not just those with a gorgeous view of Pusch Ridge," she said. "Oro Valley is not an island. We need to start working together as neighbors and using funds available to benefit the entire region."
Done is a regular fixture at Town Hall, attending most council meetings and study sessions and many Planning and Zoning Commission and Development Review Board meetings.
"My purpose is to be in the loop so that the learning curve is cut out," she said. "On the Naranja Task Force, I only missed one meeting in 18 months because I wanted to hear it first hand. I don't want to be told what people are saying."
Several times a week, the candidate rises at 2 or 3 a.m. to get it all done. "The energy level is there, my desire to do things is there," she said. As a Realtor she maintains her own hours. If elected, she plans to devote "every minute it takes," and is already pulling back on extracurricular activities to make council her primary focus.
She gives the current council an A- for its performance during the past two years. "People may not be happy with everything they've done," she said. "But in some cases (as in the Beztak development) the council did what it had to do. It was not inclined to put the town in a position to be sued."
Done promises to conduct her campaign "like a lady" and to "continue to improve the reputation of politics in Oro Valley. When I first came here, we were the joke of Pima County. It was unbelievable that adults would sit there and act like that," she said, referring to contentious political battles on the council in the 1990s.
Although she's a registered Republican in a "Republican town," Done said her political affiliation has no effect on the way she will govern. "You have to judge each thing you're faced with on council and what benefits the community," she said. "I'm not going in with a personal agenda."
Done was raised in Yuma, although her mother had her in a modern hospital in Loma Linda, Calif. because she feared complications of pregnancy. Her father's family arrived in Yuma in 1911, having started west from Oklahoma in two Conestoga wagons. "Mountain lions would come down and steal babies" out of cradle boards, Done said.
Her mother's family came out in 1924 and the next year witnessed the last flood of the Colorado River, she said.
As a young woman, she sang in a barbershop quartet for 12 years and later served on the board of Sweet Adelines. The quartet, called the Do-res, performed twice a month in rest homes and hospitals and occasionally dinner theaters.
"Dad used to ask us girls, what are you going to do to make life nicer for other people?" she said. "We were the Claus Kids at Christmas."
She spent eight years in Southern California, where she took some college courses but never finished a degree. At the tender age of 20, she served on the five-state board of the Venture Club, a woman's service organization.
"It shows I've been doing this since I was a kid," she said. "I had to sit there on the board and figure out what was best for the organization. I have experience in judging and making decisions from a young age."
Done moved to Tucson in 1960 with her first husband and found work as an accountant and office manager for Pioneer Paint. At 23, she was supervising four or five other young women.
In the mid-1970s, she married Richard, her husband of 32 years. "When I married Richard, I gained a family of four children. I cherish those four kids and eight grandchildren," she said.
Shortly afterward, the couple moved to the Northwest side, where they lived off La Canada just north of Ina Road. They moved to Oro Valley in 1995.
"Those of us who have been here longer have more understanding than the newbies," she said. "If my father had fought to close the doors of Arizona, where would we be?"
Done worked as the comptroller for a local firm for 23 years, retiring in 1992 after the firm's owner died. Her retirement didn't last long. That same year, she went into residential real estate.
The following year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent successful treatment. "I try to be a mentor and show anybody faced with breast cancer that absolutely there's life after cancer."
The list of Done's volunteer activities with service organizations is a long one. She is a member of the government affairs committees of the Northern Pima County Chamber and the Tucson Association of Realtors, where she also belongs to a professional standards committee. She's now Past-President (formerly Charter President) of the Oro Valley Optimist Club, Vice-President of the Carmel Pointe Homeowners Association and President-Elect of The Hearth Foundation, which provides shelter for homeless women and children. This will be her 11th year with the foundation, eight of them as treasurer. In 2001 and 2003, she received the Prudential Foundation Community Champion award for that work.
Family: Married, 4 adult children
Education: Some college courses, but no degrees
Profession/Employer: Realtor - Self Employed Prudential Aegis Realty 11 years
Lived in Arizona: 59 years
Lived in Oro Valley: 8 years
Came to Arizona from: N/A, Native
Public offices held: None
Other biographical data:
Oro Valley Board of Adjustment member
Naranja Land Use Task Force Executive Committee
Budget and Bond Committee, 2000 to present
Citizen's interview committee for new Police Chief
Community Service: Board Member and officer for 10 statewide charities
Arizona State Chapter CRS Treasurer
Treasurer for Women's Business Group
Officer, Oro Valley Civitan
Charter President OV Optimist;
HOA Vice-President and former President;
2001 and 2002 Prudential Foundation Community Champion award, work with the Hearth Foundation
Greater Oro Valley Arts Council volunteer.
Northern Pima County Chamber of CommerceGovernment action committee member
Why she's running for council:
I feel I have a tremendous amount of experience in how the town works, and I also have the experience of being a consensus builder and getting things done. I have the unique ability to study all sides of any issue and that enables me to reach an educated, researched and non-emotional decision that benefits the most Oro Valley Citizens.
Traffic Congestion - If Oro Valley is going to eliminate traffic congestion, we must work with all surrounding municipalities. I strongly support a Regional Transportation Authority to implement the appropriate plans to meet the county's transportation needs.
Growth - Oro Valley must complete the necessary revisions to the General Plan and the citizens must be in agreement and approve this change. The General Plan will guide me in my decisions for growth and planning within the town.
Financial Sustainability - I will continue to assure we balance costs without property taxes. I will work to attract desirable businesses to Oro Valley thereby providing high paying jobs, local services and a strong revenue base.
Other issues: Conserve Water; Public Safety; Develop Park & Recreation; Enhancing the Arts; Preservation of Historical Sites