Lou Waters, the Oro Valley resident who was a founding member and anchorman at the television news network CNN, has declared his intention to seek a seat on the town council.
Waters said he would bring "a reporter's eye" to town issues.
"I would be what I am," he said Friday. "I listen, I ask questions, and here's what I found out. That can help me make a decision, with this factual information."
Waters believes his political background in media over a 40-year career would help the town "at this critical time." Oro Valley "needs fresh eyes and creative vision to insure a successful future, "he said. "Current deadlock on the council is stifling reasoned and common sense debate about our goals and ways to achieve them."
Waters senses there is "a lot of disagreement within the community. There is a basic dissatisfaction with the way things are being done." And, he said, there is "anger about incivility on the council. There's no moving forward, there's too much reflecting on things that have already happened."
Money to operate government is a major concern for Waters. "I'm not talking about growing government," Waters said. "I am a fiscal conservative. Don't spend more than you take in."
He believes Oro Valley must "have a review of what government consists of. We need essential, effective and efficient policies."
He does not advocate a property tax. "I would not prevent the voters from Oro Valley from making that decision," Waters said. "Why don't we take that issue off the board and talk about the other stuff?
"I would encourage the town to consider sales tax revenue first, and see how that might help them shore up ideas on what they do next," he said.
Waters had "never even considered I might" run for office, "but I regard Oro Valley as a community, my community. It's got that touch to it that I like."
Before his CNN career, Waters lived and worked in Tucson. When his family decided to return to the region, "we checked on two things" — public safety, and "the best schools. We got out of that Oro Valley, and Ironwood Ridge High School."
He defends the police department. "I hear people say 'why so many cops? We have no crime here.' What kind of an argument is that?" Law enforcement is "one of the things about Oro Valley that works."
The community "has to decide what it wants to be," Waters said. "There's no question it is a growth area, just a wonderful area. People find these nice places." If they are "managed properly, with a respect for environment, if they blend architecture into environment, then we can grow it responsibly, and have a future," Waters said. "There's going to have to be some vision attached. This is a very important election from that standpoint."