At the October 3, 2012 Oro Valley Council Meeting Mayor Hiremath tried to negate a citizen’s observation that there was a lack of transparency between the council and the public. The Mayor said trust is a two-way street and the council is willing to meet the residents half way. Sadly, the Mayor’s reply cannot be supported by the actions of Council. The Mayor and three councilmember allies have given undivided support to their special interest backers; realtors, builders, developers, and some businesses. They seldom accept citizens’ input, except the rare occurrences when they are under significant resident scrutiny such as Coyote Run and the Library. The Mayor and these councilmembers are not interested in meeting the residents half way and conducting a transparency- balanced management of the Town’s affairs.
The residents of Oro Valley should recognize that the non-elected management staff, whose salaries they pay, also does not often represent the interest of the citizens. The Town Manager and managerial staff do the bidding for the Mayor and his three allies. These managers protect their employment by catering to the special-interest agenda of the controlling council members. There are many examples. This is just a small sample:
• Support zoning changes, now prohibited by Town Code, without supporting evidence of need from those making the requests
• Write code enforcement guidelines that allow privileges beyond those permitted
• Change initial support for an action, to nonsupport once the ruling council members express their displeasure
• Seldom offer negative impact information for special interest-based proposals
• Assist the controlling council block in trying to discredit residents who comment and offer alternative suggestions
The residents of Oro Valley need to become involved. It is your Town also, not just the Town of special interest groups. Your need to be involved extends beyond an issue that personally impacts you. Don’t wait for your Coyote Run or Library issue to start monitoring your elected and non-elected officials.