February 1, 2006 - Kathy Pastryk said she believes the Oro Valley town council is letting the future of Oro Valley be shaped by developers rather than its own residents. She would rather Oro Valley slow down the pace of its growth and retain the qualities that have made it a popular place to live, she said.
"We need to take our time and not rush through these things. We have a beautiful, unique place and we need to keep it that way. We don't want to turn it into a generic truck stop along the highway," said Pastryk, a candidate for town council in the 2006 election.
Pastryk said she believes Oro Valley has been far to eager to build shopping centers it doesn't really need.
"We might be overdoing it with the retail (development). I know we get tax revenue but we have three big malls going up on Oracle Road and numerous smaller ones," Pastryk said. "Some people want a metropolis, but that's not my vision for Oro Valley."
Pastryk added: "I'm not anti-progress or anti-development, but I don't like to see decisions made without much thought, because that leads to bad decisions."
An active supporter of Stop Oro Valley Outrageous Giveaways, a political committee known as SOVOG, Pastryk has taken particular issue with the $23.2 million in sales tax incentives Oro Valley offered to Vestar Development Co. to construct Oro Valley Marketplace shopping center.
"Why should we be so desperate to offer so much to them?" Paskryk said. "People are talking as if Vestar is our only salvation, but we have other shopping centers coming in."
Pastryk, 66, moved from New Jersey to Oro Valley in 2000 to retire with her husband, Allen, and her Australian cattle dog, Ranger. In her career she was a teacher and art director for an advertising company. She has a fine arts degree from Moore College of Art and a Master's degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania.
Pastryk said she is concerned that rapid growth in Oro Valley will strip away the town's unique character and leave in indistinguishable from areas of Tucson and Phoenix.
"We have to decide if we're going to be another Phoenix or maintain our small town charm. I think Oro Valley can be a gem of a small town. Physically, it's one of the most beautiful towns I've seen," she said.
Pastryk first got involved in the political discourse of Oro Valley by writing letters to the editor of the EXPLORER and other publications on various local issues. A self-described fiscal conservative and social liberal, she soon began attending town council meetings and supported SOVOG in its fight against tax incentives for Vestar.
Pastryk said the current council lacks the transparency of a fair and open government.
"Open government means making decisions in the general meeting, not behind closed doors," Pastryk said. "The majority of the council is representing big business more than the public."
Pastryk said she believes the town council often tried to hide its activities behind bureaucratic language.
"The general plan says everything should be written for the public and easy to understand in English, not English like what lawyers use," Pastryk said.
For all its concern over shopping mall construction, Pastryk says the town government has largely neglected small businesses, she said.
"I've talked to owners of small businesses, and they have a hard time getting through all the red tape. Oro Valley has a bad reputation for being difficult. I think that's too bad because we depend on small businesses for sales tax revenue," said Pastryk, adding that the town should created a liaison position to improve relations between existing businesses and the town government.
Pastryk also opposes raising taxes or creating new taxes in Oro Valley, she said.
"I wouldn't want to be the candidate to raise taxes. We need to look at alternatives," Pastryk said.
Pastryk would like the town council to get started on the Naranja Town Site regional park, she said.
"They need to get started on the ballparks and trails," Pastryk said. "I like the arts center very much, but I understand it's not important to everyone."
Pastryk said she does not believe it is necessary for Golder Ranch Fire District to be the only fire service offered in Oro Valley.
"I think Rural/Metro (Fire Department) has been doing a good job. (Golder Ranch and Rural/Metro) charge two different ways. I think people should have a choice," Pastryk said. "Rural/Metro's method of charging fees is more in line with what they should be."
Rural/Metro's fees are determined by the square-footage of a residence, whereas Golder Ranch bases their fees on property value.
Pastryk also believes that Oro Valley's leadership has not properly secured the water it needs for a sustainable future.
"The water table is going down. We need to be more committed to conservation," Pastryk said.
A painter in her spare time, Pastryk believes Oro Valley should embrace it's artist community and build some galleries of it's own, she said.
"I would like there to be some galleries here. We're an upscale area for Tucson. We have so many artists but no galleries," Pastryk said.
Greg Holt covers Oro Valley and the Amphitheater School District. He can be reached at 797-4384 ext. 116 or email@example.com.
Kathy Pastryck Bio:
Family: married, three adult children
Education: B A Fine Arts, Moore College of Art, 1961, MSEd, University of Pennsylvania 1965
Profession/Employer: Retired, formerly art director and teacher
How long have you lived in Arizona/Oro Valley? Arizona 6 years, Oro Valley 6 years. Came to AZ in October, 1999 from Teaneck, NJ
Previous elected office: None
Other biographical data: I taught overseas in the Peace Corps - twice - for a total of five years. In 1961-3 in the Philippines and 10 years later in Botswana, Africa, taking my husband who also taught, our five-year-old, and three-year- old twins.
Why did you decide to run? When there is a job to be done and I don't see anyone else step up to do what I think needs to be done, often I will get involved.
Major campaign themes: Open government encouraging citizen education and input; Concern for our natural resources and wildlife; Helping small businesses get through red tape; Incentives should benefit OV, not corporations; Responsible Growth