Developers gearing up for fight 
Posted to Wednesday, June 12, 2002
By J.C. Huntington

A California-based political consulting firm called 'Competitive Edge Research and Communications' ( has been hired to do a phone survey to supposedly ask questions about the future of Pinal County, but which quickly gets to specific questions about Robson's SaddleBrooke Ranch project. 

According to the San Diego Business Journal, the clients of Competitive Edge Research includes the National Association of Homebuilders, the National Republican Committee and the California Republican Party. 

According to Oracle residents contacted by the surveyors, the questions go from general to specific, starting with questions about direction the County is taking, including asking the respondent to rate the job the Supervisors are doing. They go on to ask about your voting patterns and then to specific questions about SaddleBrooke Ranch

Robson's SaddleBrooke Ranch project is a golf-oriented retirement community located directly next to the Page-Trowbridge radioactive/toxic waste dump a few miles to the north and east of Oracle Junction. 

At this time is unknown what company or political action committee hired Competitive Edge Research to do the most recent phone survey. 

The last time a telemarketing campaign on the local development controversy rang phones throughout the county was a few weeks after Pinal Citizens for Sustainable Communities announced the referendum action on Robson's SaddleBrooke Ranch project.

Mark Lewis, Maricopa County resident, Robson employee and Treasurer of Citizens for Pinal County's Future (click here to read about  Lewis' zany antics during the SaddleBrooke Ranch referendum)
According to the December 20, 2000 edition of The Northwest Explorer, the telemarketing campaign was done on the behalf of a political action committee called Citizens for Pinal County’s Future.  Mark Lewis, a Robson employ and resident of Maricopa County, served as the treasurer of the organization.

The Explorer reported that Robson funneled over $50,000 into their political action committee to pay for the telemarketing campaign, which done by Zimmerman and Associates, a Tucson firm.

The Robson pitch claimed that their SaddleBrooke Ranch project would "safeguard" the water supply from the Page-Trowbridge radioactive/toxic dump and would also "provide funds for parks, pools and recreation centers."

The Robson political action committee that paid for the telemarketing campaign was dissolved in November of 2001, a few months after Oracle residents Elaine Helzer, and Ramona Willis formed another political action committee called Pinal Voters for Planned Development.

Helzer and another Oracle resident, Sue Parra, are co-directors of Citizens for Positive Growth and Development (CPGD) a non-profit organization started with seed money from both Robson and Anam.

According to documents filed with the IRS, CPGD director Sue Parra charged $500 a month to rent office space to CPGD in 2001 and that Parra planed to bump the rent to a little over $660 a month this year.

In December of 2001, Helzer's political action committee donated $1,000 to Helzer's CPGD organization. 

Pinal County Supervisor Lionel D. Ruiz praised CPGD for "taking ownership" of the county park in Oracle and maintaining it with donated money and labor.

In January of this year, Ruiz aborted a signed agreement to lease Wood Field to the Oracle Historical Society so as to allow the Pinal Supervisors to award the lease to CPGD. 

While CPGD was maintaining the county park in Oracle with donated funds and volunteer labor, District 1 supervisor Lionel D. Ruiz and supervisors Smith and Kerr were busy spending at least $54,000 to provide the Lionel. D. Ruiz Park in Ruiz's hometown of Dudleyville with several upscale amenities.

CPGD members are now busy asking local citizens for donations and selling Krispy Kreme donuts to get money to build a park on Wood Field. 

Wood Field is a three-acre parcel of land bequeathed to Oracle's kids in the early part of the last century by Oracle pioneer Elizabeth Lambert Wood. 

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