Tortolita Mountain Public Access Blog

Archive for July, 2009

UPDATE - Tortolita Mountain Park (TMP)/ Public Access

by admin on Jul.31, 2009, under Uncategorized


Concerned Citizens:

As a fellow Pima County resident and taxpayer, I am writing to share with you how concerned I am to hear Pima County officials and/or elected representatives are involved or willingly cooperating with Marana officials to now give away the public’s existing full access into the TMP on the east side of the Saguaro Ranch development; owned by Pima County taxpayers, in the guise of an “exchange.” Moreover, that governmental officials should expect the public to pay for the opportunity of having our access given away. 

 In February, at the Marana Council Meeting for the proposed abandonment of a recorded public easement through the western portion of the Saguaro Ranch Development, the public was told by Marana and Saguaro Ranch officials that the County had no planned access through the west side of the development and that their abandonment’s would not affect access to the Tortolita Mountain Park, claiming that the only planned access by the County was on the east side of the development, via Como Road/Vulture Peak. On May 21 they unanimously voted to abandon the recorded public easement. - A decision that is being challenged in Pima County Superior Courts. 

Although Pima County’s Master Plan Trail System verify those claims are untrue, it appears those claims were used to distract the public’s attention from the next step the Town would take to provide the Saguaro Ranch developer with privacy and exclusivity.  

Recent documents indicate the Town of Marana has issued a letter to Pima County,  stating that Marana will use the $1Million of public funds intended for a Town Regional Recreational Facility - not to partner with Pima County to improve the County’s already existing full access easement which provides direct access intothe Tortolita Mountain Park - their letter indicates the town will instead be working to fulfill the responsibilities and financial obligations regarding the developer’s alternate trail proposal’s approval and construction. A proposal that requires the County to abandon public rights to the existing full access easement in exchange for a foot path.

The negotiations appear to indicate Marana, and Pima County taxpayers, will now cover the developer’s responsibilities in creating his “alternate trail access” as he proposed in his Pre Annexation Agreement with the Town, including, but not limited to: Construction of the alternate trail between the trail head staging area and the southern boundary of Tortolita Mountain Park; Fencing; Design and construction of the trail head facility; cost for acquiring any necessary easements, land use permits, or right of way from Arizona State land Department for any portions of the alternate trail between the trail head and the park that may need to be sited on Arizona state land Department property, along with any associated cost such as cultural resources surveys, etc .. The financial costs would be covered by using public funds and resources. 

This * letter contains links to documents from both the Town of Marana and Pima County indicating that both entities are currently in discussions to take the public’s property and rights away from the entire public , to give them to a bankrupt developer.  A decision which will also result in Pima County taxpayers being required to pass another open space bond tax to buy full access into the park somewhere else.

Please join us in contacting the Pima County Board of Supervisors. - IF, there are public funds to build the developer’s “alternate trail access,” those funds should instead be used to develop and protect the existing full public access, which will guarantee that all citizens and visitors will be able to access and enjoy our public lands, not just able-bodied hikers. After all, we’re talking about access to the park, not driving through the park.

-Tracy Chamberlain

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[WHY] Are Marana Council Members above law enforcement?

by admin on Jul.23, 2009, under Uncategorized

Patti Comerford

Patti Comerford

We have all heard that Marana asked their police officers to take pay cut/pay freezes and/or hiring freezes, as well as asking that town employees make charitable contributions to the town so the town can meet it’s budget crisis - followed by Council Members voting in their own pay raises. So in an effort to create additional revenues it was not inconceivable that Marana would begin with increasing traffic citations. To that end, I’ve heard Marana wants DPS officers who write tickets issued on I-10 to appoint Marana as the court of appearance rather than Pima County Consolidated Courts so that they can generate more revenue. And, I have also read citizens in rural outlaying areas of Pima County have voiced concerns about Marana Police officers sudden focus on issuing tickets in communities outside the town’s limits.

However, it appears that while town employees and the public at large are helping to pay down Marana’s financial spending, recent documents indicate that at least one Marana Council Member appears to feel she is immune to personal accountability or the same level of law enforcement by the Marana Police Dept..

On, or about, April 10, Marana Councilwoman Patti Comerford, was stopped by a Marana Police Officer while traveling 50 in a 35 mph speed zone, and only received a “verbal warning,” with a courtesy email from the police chief to the town manager.

Wow, the only one who seems to be making out like bandits in Marana are the elected few, while the rest of us poor schmucks pay their way.

Not only is it wrong that elected policy makers appear to hold them self above the citizens they govern, but wasn’t Ms. Comerford’s campaign platform to “improve public safety?” And wasn’t she part a recent “ethical” grandstand dispute regarding Tim Escobedo’s reappointment to a board because of his 2007 DUI?

What hypocrisy! Ms. Comerford was not slightly over the speed limit, this was gross disregard for public safety as well as a waste of Marana’s public and financial resources. Speeding as she was, is the type of reckless disregard that often results in senseless deaths, and equates with same level of dangers which result from DUI’s.

So much for Marana’s new ethics policy for elected and public officials. What we need are elected officials with real character and personal accountability.

-Tracy Chamberlain

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