by David Mendez
In case you were wondering how this whole "El Rio/Grand Canyon University" thing was going...well, it's still a clusterf—k. But it's the kind of clusterf—k that appears to have overwhelming opposition from one side — so much so that it's turning supporters into opponents, such as Ward 1 Councilwoman Regina Romero, who is jumping into the opposition camp in a press conference tomorrow.
For more, check out the release below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tucson, AZ - The El Rio Coalition II will be holding a press conference on May 29, 2013, 4:30pm, in front of City Hall, prior to the City of Tucson Mayor and Council Regular Session. At this press conference, we will announce our approval of Councilmember Romero's withdrawal of support for the El Rio/GCU proposal. We hope that the rest of the Mayor and Council will follow suit, and that they will officially end negotiations to sell/lease El Rio Golf Course to GCU.
At the press conference, we will show how the City has conducted itself in a non-transparent and secretive manner, with respect to El Rio Golf Course. In addition to this, we will announce our next course of action. Westside residents demand a seat at the table, regarding economic development, and we want to be part of the process of building a bright and healthy future for Westside Tucson.
On May 12, the El Rio Coalition II, an organization of concerned citizens fighting the plans by the City of Tucson to sell off the El Rio Golf Course, issued a formal request to the City, to review public records. We asked for records to be available for review, as permitted by law, but the City ignored our legal request. We repeated our demand for the review of records in our May 20 meeting with the City Manager. Again, to no avail. It is very clear to us that the City of Tucson has made a decision to stonewall our efforts to access the public documents that we are legally permitted to review.
On May 23, our attorney, Bill Risner, served notice to the City of our intent to sue, unless they complied with our public records request, as required by law, by 4:00pm, the following day. To date, our requests have not been honored. Our rights, as granted by the Arizona State Constitution, will not be denied, and we demand that the City of Tucson provide its citizens the opportunity to review all public records as is our right under state law (statute 39-121):
"Public records and other matters in the custody of any officer shall be open to inspection by any person at all times during office hours."
We are very happy to announce that El Rio Coalition II has received a strong endorsement of our efforts from the Tucson Clean and Beautiful Board of Directors and Staff. We thank them for their courageous
stand, on behalf of our community. The Tucson Historical Preservation Foundation has also pledged their support of the El Rio Coalition II.
We are expecting more endorsements in the next few days.
We wish to express our appreciation of the participation at our recent meetings of individuals from the following neighborhood associations:
Midvale Park, Iron Horse, Silvercroft, West University, Miramonte, Jefferson Park, Flowing Wells, Brichta, Santa Rita, Jollyville, Tucson Mountain Association, Udall, CORE-BANC and Barrio Hollywood. While these neighborhoods are listed for identification only, we expect that when the neighborhood associations meet, we will garner their official support for our efforts to protect our treasured public property.
The El Rio Coalition II is rapidly growing, because other neighborhoods and organizations have felt the brunt of the City's effort to accommodate corporations, at the expense of neighborhoods.
The El Rio Coalition II is committed to continue to fight to protect our 114 acres of culturally and historically significant urban, open green space until the Mayor and Council remove El Rio Golf Course, permanently, from any consideration of its sale or lease to any private entity.
Members of the El Rio Coalition II will be available for interviews, following the press conference. KEEP EL RIO OPEN AND GREEN. EL RIO BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE.