The recent July 20, 2022, front-page article in the Explorer on the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Vistoso Trails Nature Preserve was no fluff piece. Inaugural ceremonies are always uplifting and make good human-interest news, but this news story has much greater significance. Joe Winfield is running for reelection as mayor of Oro Valley, and the Explorer piece mentions an important part of Joe’s legacy, which is at the heart of this election and the future of Oro Valley. Will we work for land preservation in perpetuity or forsake it for unbridled growth?

Oro Valley is at a critical point in its history. Founded in 1974 to maintain a rural desert landscape and avoid taxation overreach by nearby Tucson, our town is a unique place drenched in the beauty of the Sonoran Desert against the backdrop of the impressive Santa Catalina Mountains. Every resident who makes Oro Valley his or her home owns a small piece of a paradise that, at better than 90% built out, has become a battleground for money hungry developers.

When Joe Winfield became our mayor in August of 2018, two months after a Canadian nonbank lender turned the water off at the Golf Club at Vistoso, setting up an almost four-year battle for the soul of more than 200 acres of land. The residents of Oro Valley could not have been more fortunate. The prior mayor, a philosophical compatriot of pro-growth Danny Sharp (the candidate running against Joe Winfield in this crucial election) never met a rezoning he didn’t like. Had Joe Winfield not become mayor, there would have been no celebration of land preservation on a recent, warm July morning.

At this stage in our town’s history, we need a mayor who understands measured, careful growth. Who has the credibility to lead public- private partnerships like the one over 600 donors trusted in to secure a valuable piece of land and who will respect the unique beauty of Oro Valley and the residents who treasure it.

The Explorer article quotes an emotional Joe Winfield as saying the Vistoso land preservation represents a “capstone” for him. As a man who spent a long career with the National Parks Service, exemplifying his love for beautiful landscapes like the ones we value in Oro Valley. As Joe Winfield looks to extend his legacy over the next four years, a vote for him secures Oro Valley’s future as a place where our natural beauty can be celebrated and preserved in perpetuity.

Rosa Dailey, Oro Valley

Source: The Explorer, July 27, 2022