Residents challenge Tucson’s Grand Canyon U decision

Tucson City Council members heard a diverse range of opinions from community members at the Council’s Wednesday meeting. Supporters of the El Rio Golf Course and Grand Canyon University both chastised the Council for it disregard for the community’s interest.

Golf course and University supporters shared their disappointment in Regina Romero’s disregard for their input; only members of the LGBT expressed pleasure at the Council’s recent decision to discriminate against the Christian school.

The atmosphere grew heated according to Nick Pierson, a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Pierson told popular radio host James T Harris on 104.1FM, that a man approached him after the meeting and was verbally abusive. Later Pierson saw a Facebook posting by the man who said he was going to physically harm him.

Most course supporters said that they did not object to the Christian school and welcomed it to the area. However; they objected to losing the course at all. The historic course was the first grass course developed in the state of Arizona.

The City’s mismanagement has caused most of the municipal courses to fall into wide-ranging levels of disrepair. Golfers asked the City why it did not consider offering the Silverbell course and preserve the historic El Rio.

One Tucson area resident and member of the Southern Arizona Hispanic Republican Organization, Adrianna Morkenken, urged the Council to consider what message their statement against Grand Canyon University sends to other businesses considering a move to Tucson. She told the Council, “I want the kids in the neighborhood to have good jobs, to have opportunity,” and urged the Council to cure their “business unfriendly attitude.

It is the business unfriendly attitude of Tucson that has led to its status at the 6th poorest region in the country.

Joe Flores, a community leader who took on the Grijalva machine and ran against Romero said before the meeting that the “people and neighbors of Barrio Hollywood do not like the idea of getting rid of El Rio Golf Course. I for a fact know many golfers from the Barrio Hollywood that would utilize the course many times.” Flores says the City has increased rates making play prohibited and the City never publicized the course. I can go on and on.”

Flores said that in recent visits to the American Legion Post 59, “all the guys and gals were totally upset.” Post 59 is in Barrio Hollywood. Flores said, “Regina. She speaks for herself and Raul Grijalva, not for the community she represents.”

While the City is going broke fast, it is friendly to other businesses. Yesterday, the City allowed Gadsden, which is developing west side properties, to spread out $3 million in payments, that were due this month, over several years.

Residents question why the City harasses temporary vendors in the area, and turns down Grand Canyon University, but is so friendly to others. Flores says “it is time to do a report card on Romero .” He points to the fact that there was default clause in Gadsden’s contract, but it wasn’t enforced. Instead they got a pass and what amounts to a long term loan.

Pat Sexton, of the Arizona Latino Republican Association, agrees with Flores; “It is not surprising that Regina Romero and other progressives on the City Council would only invite and listen to one side of the Latino community which led to this decision. Too many small Hispanic families and businessmen continue to suffer the consequences of such actions by the city leaders who continue to bow down to the wishes of those who are most intolerant of anyone not agreeing completely with their points of view, but would rather continue down the failed path which this council has been leading us on. Everyone who loves Tucson and wishes to see our city on the mend, revived and thriving again should work hard to change that leadership this next election.”

Also, in what has become almost a weekly ritual, the City Council voted to limit gun rights. They passed an ordinance requiring gun owners to report a lost or stolen gun within 48 or face penalties. They also passed an ordinance which allows police to subject a person to either a blood or breath test if they negligently discharge a gun and appears intoxicated.

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