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The Conservative’s Corner

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Conservative's Corner


(Phoenix) —Governor Doug Ducey today announced that Arizona has received more than $5.3 million in grant funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help Arizona communities provide meals for older adults. The dollars will support both meal delivery programs and programs serving senior centers and are part of a relief package, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020.

“These dollars will help Arizona keep our seniors safe and healthy at a critical time,” said Governor Ducey. “I’m grateful to members of both parties who supported this legislation and to the Department of Health and Human Services for making these resources available.”

In total, Arizona will receive $5,356,670 for senior meal programs, with two-thirds of that supporting home meal delivery.

This morning, the Governor also made a request to the federal government to expand nutritional assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Governor Ducey yesterday issued an Executive Order delaying the enforcement of eviction action orders for renters impacted by COVID-19.

The Governor also announced yesterday the launch of the Arizona Together initiative to support Arizonans during the COVID-19 outbreak, connecting individuals and businesses to resources, raising money for community organizations and providing information on volunteer opportunities. A website, ArizonaTogether.org, serves as the centralized location for Arizonans to find help or provide support.

(March 19, 2020) — Governor Doug Ducey today announced additional mitigation strategies to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Arizona.

“We remain focused in the state of Arizona on proactively limiting the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Ducey. “These latest actions are based on the facts and on data and come after careful consultation with public health experts from every county in Arizona, our hospitals, local elected officials, and private sector partners. They reflect guidance from the CDC and the latest recommendations from our Department of Health Services, while going even further to bolster our efforts with additional manpower and resources. This is an all-in effort. We are determined to take all necessary precautions to address this outbreak and will continue to act with urgency to protect public health.”

According to the Governor’s Office the executive actions include:

Ensuring food access

  • Governor Ducey is activating the National Guard to assist grocery stores and food banks with re-stocking shelves in the face of heightened demand.
    • Arizona grocery stores are facing unprecedented demand, and this assistance will help ensure the continuation of food supply.
    • Food banks are also struggling with adequate volunteer levels to serve those in need.

Increasing hospital capacity

  • An Executive Order that halts all elective surgeries in the state of Arizona to free up medical resources and maintain the capacity for hospitals and providers to continue offering vital services.
    • This will help keep critical personal protective equipment (PPE) available for the fight against COVID-19.

Updated guidance and flexibility for restaurants, bars and other businesses:

  • An Executive Order that requires restaurants in Arizona counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases to provide dine-out options only, and that all bars in those counties close. This also applies to movie theaters and gyms.
    • This builds on the previous guidance from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to ensure one consistent policy across jurisdictions. It is effective close of business Friday, March 20.
  • To assist in mitigating the financial consequences of restaurant closures, the Executive Order also allows restaurants to deliver alcoholic beverages with the purchase of food.
    • Additionally, the Governor’s directive allows manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to buy back unopened products from restaurants, bars and clubs.

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​In the last few hours, we’ve seen Governor Ducey announce a state of emergency here in Arizona, the NBA suspend its schedule, and President Trump announce an unprecedented range of travel restrictions, along with a host of other measures and financial supports to assist people through what will be a trying time.

Make no mistake, the following days and weeks we are all going to face significant, and potentially very trying, disruptions to our lives. However – I want to be clear – this is not the time to panic. If you are under the age of 80, and in good health, your risk from COVID-19 is extremely small. Symptoms are generally mild. Our concern must extend, foremost, to our elderly, those with compromised immune systems, or individuals with significant underlying conditions. If you fall into one of these categories, it is critical that you take all available precautions. You can get more information on the best, updated practices to protect yourself here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html [cdc.gov]

If you are generally healthy, but find yourself with any of the symptoms of the common cold or flu, please stay home and attempt to isolate yourself as much as possible until the symptoms have completely passed.
If you are experiencing these symptoms and need to seek medical attention, please call ahead to the hospital and make arrangements for your arrival.
If you are forced to call 911, please inform the operator that you are experiencing these symptoms, so that our first responders can also take the proper precautions.
The City of Phoenix, our first responders, and critical incident response systems are among the best in the country, and they are well prepared and trained to respond to any emergency. Additionally, City of Phoenix personnel across all our departments are ramping up our response to this public health hazard.
To that end, our office will remain open throughout this crisis, even if we are forced to do so remotely. If you need assistance, we will be available to respond by phone (602-262-7491) or email (Council.District.6@Phoenix.gov). We will also continue to monitor and update you via our social media accounts. If you are in need, do not hesitate to call, we will work to connect you with the proper resources or help you need.

The city of Phoenix is holding off on higher rideshare fees for Uber and Lyft rides at Phoenix Sky Harbor International until after the Arizona Supreme Court rules on the legality of the hikes.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich argues the higher fees go against a voter approved state law restricting cities from imposing new and higher taxes and charges on business services. He has petitioned the state Supreme Court to look at the Phoenix fees.

“The City of Phoenix has backed down from enforcing their unconstitutional rideshare fees for now,” Brnovich said. “This is a win for consumers, but this fight continues at the Arizona Supreme Court. I will always defend the constitutional rights of Arizona voters.”

Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who voted against the higher rideshare fees, also welcomed the delay in their implementation. DiCiccio thanked Brnovich and Republican State Rep. Nancy Barto for their opposition to the city fees and moves to get the Arizona Supreme Court to rule on them.

The fees were slated to go into place February 1 with Uber and Lyft promising to end rides to the airport over the higher costs.

“The City of Phoenix has agreed not to tax rideshare at the airport until the Supreme Court makes a final determination. Thank you to Representative Nancy Barto and Attorney General Mark Brnovich for bringing this issue to the Supreme Court and protecting taxpayers in Arizona,” DiCiccio said.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced January 16 he believes the City of Phoenix violated the Arizona Constitution when it imposed new rideshare fees for companies operating at Sky Harbor.

“The Phoenix City Council is placing its policy preferences above the rights of the people to whom the government must always answer,” Brnovich said. “Arizona voters clearly spoke when they overwhelmingly approved Proposition 126. We will now take this matter to the Arizona Supreme Court and seek an expedited ruling. This is the most definitive way to provide clarity on the law, protect Arizona taxpayers, and hold the City of Phoenix accountable.”

Featured Editorials


Anyone with children likely knows the movie “Rise Of The Guardians.” It’s the tale of our holiday heroes (Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, etc.) banding together to defeat darkness threatening happiness in the world.

Awhile back we wrote a piece entitled after the movie mentioned above, discussing the role activists have played over the past many years to shape Scottsdale.  It got quite a reaction.

Each of the activists mentioned, and others who weren’t, have their own definition of happiness in Scottsdale and proffer prolifically for it.

Yet, as long-time observers of the Scottsdale scene we are seeing a noticeable shift in the dialogue.  For years whether it was via letters to local newspapers or more lately on social media those who thought/think Scottsdale is going to hell in a hand basket tended to dominate the discussion.

Not anymore.

And it’s most noticeable in Bob Littlefield’s fledgling campaign for Mayor.  No matter how outlandish or transparently political his public or online statements were, he could count on the crazy caucus to back him up.

But as Bob Dylan might sing to the situation: “Times They Are-a-Changin.”  So far in this cycle Littlefield routinely gets pummeled online by a rise in activism that thinks Scottsdale is a pretty damn good place, and that won’t stand for demagoguery or duplicity.

Simply put, they are kicking Bob Littlefield’s ass. And that’s going to matter as campaigning and associated fundraising gets upended by Coronavirus circumstances.  This dynamic also applies to weird lobbyist David Ortega but save for a relative or two no one really cares what he has to say, at least according to recent public opinion polling.

Activism properly led to the defeat of the Desert Discovery Center but also to the founding of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  Now, it’s noteworthy to see that Scottsdale’s great, silent majority isn’t being so silent anymore and common sense seems to be eclipsing crazy in the daily social media battles.

 

By Recker McDowell —

We are all seeing the destructive path the COVID-19 pandemic has carved through the economy with record unemployment claims, shutdown businesses, a full stop for tourism as well as scores of layoffs and furloughs.

All the business closures are resulting in significant temporary job cuts across Arizona and the country.

But there are jobs out in the marketplace. Numerous companies are hiring in the Phoenix metro area as well as across the state and country even as other jobs hang in the balance. The state’s Arizona Together website has resources available for adversely impacted workers as well as links to companies and organizations who are hiring during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Here are some of the companies hiring right now for jobs. (Click on the links for their career websites.)

COVID-19 has caused job cuts at hotels and resorts, bars and restaurants as well as small businesses but there are some jobs out there.

Scottsdale city government isn’t the only thing being paralyzed by a pandemic.  So are political campaigns. Traditional ways of electioneering and fundraising have been upended.  Precise messaging is going to matter more than ever, especially with the contest to be Scottsdale’s next Mayor taking shape.  We’ll know on Monday who is in and who is out.  That’s when candidate petitions are due.

As a reminder Mayor Jim Lane is ineligible to run again after winning in 2008, 2012 and 2016 due to the city’s term limits provision.  Eligible candidates will face off August 4th with the top two vote getters carrying on to the run-off election in November.

For now, we will focus on the three most credible candidates:  Virginia Korte, Suzanne Klapp and Bob Littlefield.  Rumors abound (and we reserve the right to be wrong) that Lisa Borowsky will not qualify for the ballot.  We don’t need rumors to ignore another likely candidate (for now), David Ortega. He is the weirdest and worst aspirant, ever, for Scottsdale’s top slot.  Indeed, he got smoked by Mary Manross when he ran before for Mayor in 2004.  His record then was bad and has receded since, if that’s possible. With scant support there is little reason to waste copy on the lobbyist for Scottsdale’s worst landlord.

That brings us back to Virginia Korte.  All of the top 3 candidates have their strengths. Councilwoman Klapp has a solid record on the City Council and is backed by Mayor Lane. Littlefield is Scottsdale’s Le Pen.  He has a constituency but it’s not enough to be Mayor, especially in the upended pandemic political environment.  Additionally, he has major political liabilities.  According to polling, voters are literally repulsed by the notion of two Littlefields serving on the council at the same time.  Bob’s wife Kathy is currently Vice Mayor, where she is doing a commendable job.  Additionally, Bob has authenticity problems.  When first elected to the City Council way back when he ran as a pro-business candidate to oust the anti-growth George Zraket.  Then Bob adopted Zraket-like positions. Bob voted for the towers at the Scottsdale Waterfront before he decided he didn’t like height.  And he was infamously for the Desert Discovery Center before seeing the citizens railing against it and joined the bandwagon.

Cue Korte.  She has the best resume to ever seek the job of Mayor. Yet, her head-scratching embrace of the appropriately defunct Desert Discovery Center throughout the last political cycle was dumb and defeating. But she has something no one else can claim.  And if accentuated properly it could be a game changer.

The greatest thing Scottsdale has ever done was the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  Being an early idealist was not politically convenient.  The price tag was staggering.  How would property rights be handled?  How would it all be managed?  What might increased sales taxes do to local business? Voter approval was not a foregone conclusion.  Indeed, the authorizing vote was a vigorously contested affair with significant opposition.  But there was Korte, alongside the Raus, Carlas, Drinkwaters, Decabooters and many others to forge the vision.

We don’t know if her likely opponents voted in that election, or how they did if so.  What we do know is despite a major misstep on the Desert Discovery Center, being a preserve pioneer may help Korte regain her political footing and provide a Trump card no one else can play.

Think of it this way.  Golf courses are still open in Scottsdale.  Voters may give Korte a mulligan for her political bogey because if it weren’t for people like her no one would have been able to play the sport in the first place.

 

We get Scottsdale city government has many priorities right now, especially to its first responders and health care infrastructure.

But when an industry like tourism, which is 35% of the city’s economy, cries out for help it is shocking and infuriating no one at the City of Scottsdale is showing the type of leadership desperately needed.

It is not as if the city doesn’t have the means.  It has one of the most progressive tourism taxes in the state. Last year, it generated $23 million.

As much of that money should be repurposed immediately to aid Scottsdale businesses which have been laid to waste through no fault of their own.

Give millions to the Super Bowl in 2023 when the galleries on Main Street are going to be a ghost town soon? Insane.

Set up a city website to encourage support for local business?  Woefully inadequate.

A Chamber of Commerce that sends out surveys to members asking how they are being impacted by the Coronavirus?  Seriously? That’s a new definition of bureaucratic boobs.

Where are the voluntary salary reductions at Experience Scottsdale, like the leadership at most every business in America is doing? It is our understanding these are coming. While not good news for anyone involved we can hopefully point to this as an excellent and needed example of shared sacrifice.

What good are tourism advertising dollars now when there is no demand and when tourism magnets like Taliesin West just closed and laid off 46 people?

Where is Scottsdale’s Steve Mnuchin or Nancy Pelosi to champion help now?  Apparently, nowhere to be found.

What good are city committees to address difficult times if all they churn out is public sector pablum devoid of any understanding or positivity for the private sector?  When all those committees do is engage in chummy groupthink with everyone participating protecting themselves rather than undertaking real hard choices and anything real for the public good?

Scottsdale leadership seems to think rosary beads and the federal government are the solutions.  History will not look kindly on its dithering.  How is it one of the most maligned institutions in America, Congress, acted within days and yet Scottsdale’s council, nor anyone, can champion help for those that define the essence of its brand?

What good are the city’s tourism tax funds if it has little to promote after the crisis, when its shops, spaces and events look like something out of the movie Road Warrior?

It is time for Scottsdale leadership to walk and chew gum.  Otherwise a bubble is soon going to pop and the yuck and stuck on the city’s face is going to be something they are going to have to live with and look at in the mirror for many years to come.

We are reminded of the city’s economic development malfeasance when it came to McDowell Road.  Perhaps the departure of car dealerships that created massive sums of sale tax dollars for the city was inevitable.  Perhaps not.  After all, Phoenix has found a way to keep its automobile cluster on Camelback Road in central Phoenix.

Over many years city officials engaged in a series of band aids that made everyone feel good because small ball made everyone feel that they were doing something, anything. That same deficient thinking is on display, unfortunately, again.  The result for McDowell Road was the loss of millions in sales tax dollars and a new type of row, of apartments.  The consequence of failure for Scottsdale’s tourism industry is far greater for the city.

The question is: why this is taking place? Frankly, it’s an infuriating combination of disappointing and dereliction of duty. It is not Scottsdale at its best.  It is Scottsdale at its worst, and a new low for Scottsdale government ineptitude.  As relentless champions for the city it pains us to say such things.   And what makes it all the more shocking?  The people who aren’t getting it are usually the ones who do.

GET AN EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE PLAN UTILIZING TOURISM FUNDS FOR TOURISM BUSINESSES APPROVED BY NEXT WEEK, AT THE LATEST.  Surely if Congress can act, Scottsdale can.  Any such plan may likely have some holes or not be perfect.  But the good is not the enemy of the great and as business and investment decisions are being made now delay is a cancer that is infecting the body Scottsdale as never before.

Spring training was canceled this year so we thought baseball might provide an appropriate analogy:  Scottsdale is choking during the biggest economic at bat of its life.  It’s painful to watch but more importantly, painful for those businesses who have been patriots and productive for the city. They deserve a lot better than they are getting from not even a minor league approach to the crisis, but from city leadership that doesn’t even know where its stadium is.

 

By Recker McDowell —

The Coronavirus threatens 19.8 million jobs nationwide by July and could take the U.S. unemployment rate up to 15.6 percent, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Close to 396,000 jobs could be impacted in Arizona and the state unemployment rate could hit to 15.4 percent with layoffs, job cuts and furloughs. Arizona’s unemployment rate was 4.5 percent before the pandemic. The U.S. jobless rate was 3.5 percent.

Another 6.8 million jobs could be lost in California, Texas, New York and Florida. Those numbers can stoke fear and worry. They should also be a call for immediate and aggressive action beyond the $2 trillion federal stimulus package.

Communities, regions and states all need to be putting pro-growth and pro-jobs programs in place now focused on helping adversely impacted workers, small businesses and hard hit industries.

That means top to bottom looks at taxes, fees, regulations, land-use policies and other ways to revive the economy and growth. We need ‘all of the above’ answers.

State and local leaders just cannot let the economic response come from Washington. They need to complement and enhance it.

Employers also need to keep their nerve the best they can during the Coronavirus’ impact. The fact that Small Business Administration loans and assistance can hinge on employers not cutting jobs can help.

But we need employers (small and large) to do their best to take care of their employees. They also need to realize consumers and job talent will judge how companies and brands reacted to this unprecedented pandemic.

The potential job losses are scary.

We have a choice of giving into the fear or we can come together and fight for our jobs and communities.

 

 

By Recker McDowell —

Our communities need the spirits of compassion and kindness during the COVID-19 pandemic as the spirits of fear and worry grip our health care system, politics and economy.

There is no better place to start than with seniors. Seniors are among those most at risk from the Coronavirus. Fear of the virus can challenge seniors who need to pick up prescriptions or groceries. A significant number of seniors also work in retail and other jobs impacted by business shutdowns.

Communities are already stepping forward to help seniors. We just need to engage more businesses, residents and nonprofits to help our most vulnerable in this unprecedented time. Those efforts show the fabric of our communities (and community leaders) when there is an oversupply of fear and angst including over jobs and livelihoods.

The city of Mesa, for example, is launching an Adopt-A-Grandparent program to help seniors who might need help picking up prescriptions or food during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The city is partnering with For Our City – Mesa to help seniors as the virus threatens health and shuts down businesses. For Our City is a community nonprofit that includes faith, nonprofit, business and city advocates.

The Mesa program offers help for seniors with errands and shopping. This is the type of program needed across the country.

Other cities such as Scottsdale, Surprise and Phoenix as well as AARP Arizona also have programs and services to help seniors.

Shutdowns and ‘shelter in place’ actions by the state and local governments have closed senior centers across the Valley and country. Many seniors rely on those centers for meals, resources and social connections.

City governments are working with nonprofits and faith groups to still provide meals to seniors.

The city of Surprise is partnering with Meals of Joy for no-cost emergency home-delivered meals to vulnerable seniors. Residents in Surprise’s Senior Center Meal program can also still pick up meals at the city’s senior center or work or potentially get those delivered. The West Valley city is also partnering with Salvation Army for a daily drive-thru free hot breakfast and brown bag lunch program.

Scottsdale and Phoenix are also offering meal services to seniors despite senior centers being closed by the pandemic.

Other communities across Arizona are also working to help seniors and others impacted by the pandemic. We just need to see community leadership on this and other challenges including jobs.

It’s a chance for our communities and businesses to rise up and rise above this historic adversity.

By Virginia Korte —

Many Scottsdale citizens are asking why we don’t have a ‘Stay at Home’ rule during this time of the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Doug Ducey, our Governor, issued an Executive Order on March 23 prohibiting cities from enacting any regulation that restricts any person from “performing any function designated by either the Governor, the Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, or the Division of Emergency Management as an essential function during the COVID-19 public health emergency.”  The Executive Order goes on to include “Any order restricting persons from leaving their home …”

The City of Scottsdale is following our Governor’s lead.  We have closed all but three city facilities to public access and are monitoring our preserve trail heads so that individuals understand the social distancing rule of 6 feet.  All public meetings which include boards, commissions and city council are either temporarily cancelled or being held electronically.  All public gatherings are cancelled.

To borrow from City of Scottsdale’s web page:

Essential city services such as solid waste collection, water, police and fire remain fully operational. Staff in these areas are taking steps recommended by public health experts to keep things clean and prevent the spread of virus.

If you need to do business with the city, chances are you can do it online – search at ScottsdaleAZ.gov or find a complete listing of services here.

Scottsdale’s call center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each business day – call 480-312-3111 for assistance.

Scottsdale trolley service on all routes is suspended beginning Wednesday, March 25. Valley Metro service remains on a regular schedule, but riders are encouraged to continue to check the Valley Metro website for updates.

All city buildings except the City Court, Granite Reef Senior Center, and Vista del Camino Food Bank are closed to the public.  Vista del Camino Food Bank is open by appointment to distribute food boxes and for emergency assistance – call 480-312-2323 to schedule.

All Scottsdale Public Library Buildings are closed. Drive up windows at Appaloosa, Arabian and Mustang are open for limited services.
Visit ScottsdaleLibrary.org/COVID19 for details.

Visit ScottsdaleAZ.gov to access city services online. The city call center is available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays to assist residents via phone – call 480-312-3111.

The Scottsdale City Court has suspended jury trials, continued many cases and encourages the public to access services online. However, the court must remain open for certain services. People should contact the court prior coming in person at 480-312-2442 or email court@ScottsdaleAZ.gov.

The Granite Reef Senior Center is closed for general use; however, it will be open for the sole purpose of distributing meals for those enrolled in the city’s senior nutrition programs.

The city’s outdoor parks and trails remain open – however, residents using those amenities should observe the social distancing guidelines recommended by public health authorities.

Three additional public health sites for information regarding
COVID-19:
The Maricopa County Public Health Department and the Arizona Department of Health Services are the lead agencies for response in Arizona.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is the lead agency nationally.

My personal suggestion and what I have shared with my children is STAY AT HOME.
The City of Scottsdale is doing its best to protect the health and well-being of its citizens.  While the City cannot mandate citizens to stay at home, I believe common sense should prevail and we should STAY AT HOME.

  • COVID-19 does not spread by itself.  People spread the virus.  Consult your doctor before going to the hospital.  STAY AT HOME.
  • This is not the flu.  There is no vaccine.  STAY AT HOME.
  • Make a plan with your family.  Communicate with your family and friends.  STAY AT HOME.

Sincerely,

Virginia L. Korte

Virginia Korte is a member of the Scottsdale City Council and a candidate for Scottsdale Mayor.

By Recker McDowell —

The Coronavirus and its economic impacts are having unprecedented impacts on small businesses, entrepreneurs and independent contractors. Businesses are closed. Jobs are jeopardized. Key industries including tourism and restaurants are being pushed to the brink. The federal economic stimulus program has help for impacted businesses and workers. There are also resources and programs at the state and community levels to help small businesses. We have compiled key links and resources including from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Local First Arizona, the state of Arizona and communities including Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa.

U.S. Small Business Administration (Economic Injury Disaster Loans)

The U.S. Small Business Administration has loans available for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Those loans can be for up to $2 million and can be used to pay debts, payrolls and other bills. The SBA has other programs and resources available to impacted businesses. They can be found here. There is also more SBA loan information can here.

Local First Arizona (Small Business Relief Fund)

Local First Arizona has launched a relief fund aimed at helping small business and micro-entrepreneurs (with 0 to 3 employees and less than $250,000 in annual revenue). The fund will help Arizona entrepreneurs with their cash flow because of the shutdown of the economy.  You can kind more information and help support the fund here.

Experience Scottsdale (COVID-19 Resources)

Experience Scottsdale has resources and information available for the tourism and hospitality industry including impacted workers and local businesses. The tourism industry is a huge economic driver and tax revenue generator in Scottsdale and statewide. The industry accounts for 192,000 jobs in Arizona and 27,000 jobs in Scottsdale. The $24.4 billion statewide industry is at a standstill due to the Coronavirus. Experience Scottsdale has information and resources here.

Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce (Community Updates)

The Scottsdale Area of Chamber of Commerce has a community update page and is hosting webinars and other events to keep employers and entrepreneurs informed about resources and economic stimulus efforts. The Scottsdale Chamber will host a webinar Monday (March 30th) at 2 p.m. with U.S. Rep. David Schweikert to update local businesses on the federal stimulus package in response to the Coronavirus. You can get more information here.

Arizona Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association (COVID-19 Resources)

The National Restaurant Association and Arizona Restaurant Association have resources available for the impacted industry. Restaurants employ more than 15 million workers nationally.  Please check the ARA’s resource page here.

The resources include information on federal economic assistance, industry operations during the Coronavirus and resources made available at the state level.

You can see more information from the National Restaurant Association here.

Arizona Together (State Coronavirus Resources)

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has launched an information and resource portal for small businesses, workers and others impacted by the pandemic and its economic fallout. “As we work to combat the spread of COVID-19, access to resources that can help support families and businesses in this time of need is critical. We’re calling on Arizonans to be informed, get engaged, and support organizations doing important work to keep our communities safe and healthy. Arizona will get through this together,” said Gov. Ducey of the statewide effort.  Please check out the state resources page here. The Arizona Commerce Authority also has information for impacted businesses here.

Community, City Resources

Local governments and community groups have launched a programs and resources aimed at helping small businesses, nonprofits, seniors, workers and other grappling with the public health and economic ramifications of the virus. That includes Maricopa County which offers public health and economic impacts of the Coronavirus.

Here is a sampling of those links and other communities have similar resources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Virginia Korte —

We are living in interesting times. A time of unknowns. It was a little more than 2 weeks ago when things were normal – Spring Training games were in full swing, tourists filled our Old Town streets, galleries and restaurants. And many of us were planning our next trip to visit our parents, children and grandchildren.

Today COVID-19 will be forever ingrained in our minds. In a short amount of time we are faced with adapting to not only a severe health issue – we are facing a severe economic impact issue as well. Scottsdale’s primary industry is tourism and the cancellation of spring training is a prime example of adverse economic impact. It is probably the single most important driver of winter tourism in the Valley. The good news is that at least we got in half the season….

Today’s reality is that we are in the beginnings of many unknowns. The CDC and the White House declared to a state of emergency and to avoid any gatherings of 10 people or more. They suggested local governments close libraries, museums, senior centers and more. Our schools are shut down. The ripple effect of this is enormous and immeasurable at this time. This is when leadership matters.

The City Council voted to continue any action on the elimination of the food tax to a future date. I supported this motion because this is not a time to undermine our public safety personnel. Our dedicated police and fire personnel are on the front line of this Coronavirus pandemic. They are risking their lives every day to protect our community. It is not the time to undermine their ability to protect the health and well-being of Scottsdale citizens.

At this time of great uncertainty, we must rely ever more heavily on our City’s first responders. Today our Scottsdale City budget funds many items which will be essential during this time of economic uncertainty. Today over 55 percent of our general fund budget covers police and fire. To cut a tax in the wave of economic uncertainty is not prudent.

Rather than singling out one tax we should be considering a comprehensive plan to address the economic tsunami that is befalling our service-based economy. We should be looking at refinancing some long-term debt, giving small businesses and our hotel service industry an opportunity to hang on by providing legal targeted tax relief to permit them to continue to employ people during this temporary slowdown. Cutting Taxes is unwise, imprudent and clearly out of step with what is necessary to provide leadership to our community during an economic crisis.

Rather than singling out one tax we should be considering a comprehensive plan to address the economic tsunami that is befalling our service-based economy. We should be looking at refinancing some long-term debt, giving small businesses and our hotel service industry an opportunity to hang on by providing legal targeted tax relief to permit them to continue to employ people during this temporary slowdown. Cutting Taxes is unwise, imprudent and clearly out of step with what is necessary to provide leadership to our community during an economic crisis.

Our service-based economy is based on serving others. Today those tourists are not here and will not be ere for many months to come. Today we must take that service based ethic and begin serving our own community, our small business owners whose business may be in jeopardy, our hotel and visitor employee base that will be hard pressed to meet their monthly obligations, our citizens who are faced with child care issues and furloughed jobs. We must adopt an ethic of serving our own community. It’s time we begin serving one another rather than our own short-term political ambitions. It’s time to begin the hard work of governing like responsible adults who understand and comprehend the problem before us today. It is large, it is devastating and it is time to step up.

That is why leadership matters!

Sincerely,

Virginia L. Korte

Virginia Korte is a member of the Scottsdale City Council and a candidate for Scottsdale Mayor.

By Virginia Korte —

Times are hard right now for Scottsdale. Whether it’s the disruption caused to families because of school closures, the adjustments made for working at home or the loss of income from businesses shutting down, this is hard.

I never thought I would see this happen in our community, but it’s happening, and now it’s time to respond as a united community.

It’s amazing to see so many of Scottsdale citizens and businesses doing their part to help out and innovate in light of the drastic changes. This will not defeat us. I believe our grit will prevail through this trying time.

I want to share a number of resources to help you through this time.

Scottsdale City Council Updates

Health Guidelines

CDC Guidelines

Scottsdale School District

Paradise Valley School District

Government Benefits

Resources for Students

Restaurants available for take-out

Scottsdale is a strong city and I know that this will not last forever.

Please reach out if you need any additional resources to help during this time.

Sincerely,

Virginia L. Korte

Virginia Korte serves on the Scottsdale City Council and is a candidate for the Mayor of Scottsdale.

 

By Suzanne Klapp —

Mother Teresa famously said “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

This current virus pandemic means for some of us that we can help make the situation a little better by helping at least one other person. In my Scottsdale Mountain community, we are doing just that with an effort called Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

I began this outreach program in our immediate community several years ago by modeling it after the services provided by Duet Arizona. Well over 20 neighbors quickly volunteered to help. Duet helped by sending several of us on the committee through their training program to ensure we know and use best practices about going into neighbors’ homes.

Our mission has been to support our elderly and homebound neighbors by lending a helping hand and assisting their wellbeing through volunteer home services. We have gone shopping, picked up mail, made friendly telephone calls and generally provided contact with the outside world to some who have no other people to help them.

We provide home visits and respite care, now staying at least six feet away, but still reassuring others that we care about them with a friendly face and comforting words.

One hurdle to overcome for our neighborhood is that people often do not ask for help. It’s understandable. We all want to remain independent and not admit that we are challenged to get by each day. This is particularly true for our elderly neighbors.

Right now, I see them struggling while traveling up and down the aisles at our local grocer to buy sometimes scarce staples and food for the day or the week.

The shortage on shelves causes them anxiety.

That’s where our Neighbors Helping Neighbors group has stepped in. We are still voluntarily helping by obtaining a shopping list, going to the store, and bringing back the needed items, thus eliminating some of the stress and even danger from germs unwittingly left by previous shoppers.

We know that older adults and others suffering from underlying illnesses are most vulnerable to the virus.

I urge individuals in HOA’s or neighborhood groups to reach out to elderly or physically impaired people living at least on your block. I know that some other homeowner associations have also established outreach committees.

Find out if your neighbors need something, and if you are able, get it for them. If a number of people help care for those living nearby, there will be a ripple effect that can serve many. This simple act changes Scottsdale, one person at a time.

For further information on how to get started, please contact me at suzanneklapp@gmail.com. Or contact our Scottsdale Mountain Program Director, Nancy Zikias, at nzikias@gmail.com.

Also, Duet is looking for volunteers and has a wealth of information on its website at duetaz.org.

Suzanne Klapp serves on the Scottsdale City Council and is a candidate for Scottsdale mayor.

By Recker McDowell —

We all know the Coronavirus is having an unprecedented impacted on public health and everyday life. The pandemic is also the ultimate ‘black swan’ to threatening the economy, jobs and markets.

The economy — from the tourism and travel industries down to small businesses and independent contractors — is being rocked to its core.

The response to the pandemic from governments, employers, communities and neighbors also must be as unprecedented and unparalleled as this challenge. The economic stimulus needs to be federal, state and local. It needs to include the all levels of the private sector and rooted in employers, small businesses, investments and jobs.

Employers need to think twice about embarking on their usual approach paths, especially layoffs. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin worried the country could see a 20 percent unemployment rate without action.  Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said U.S. unemployment could hit 30 percent with a 50 percent dive in GDP.

What happens if employers and business continue to embark on the traditional path of layoffs, furloughs and job cuts?

Employers, if they can, must show some patience and moderation to their layoffs and pullbacks. We don’t want to take a path of collective economic self-destruction because of moves that put millions or workers out of jobs and small businesses out of business.

A big concern is the lack of visibility of when the Coronavirus pandemic will subside. But looking at what has happened in South Korea, Japan and China there is some visibility that there is light at the end of a very tough tunnel.

But coming out of the tunnel requires confidence and hope over fear and worry. Businesses, employers and investors need economic confidence that we are on the better side of the pandemic curve. Workers need to not fear for their jobs and livelihoods. Remember those workers are consumers and make up two-thirds of the U.S. economy.

So how do we come out of all this?

State and local governments need help from the federal government to respond to the virus. All levels of government (not just Washington) also need to find ways to help impacted workers and businesses and have strong growth and jobs-oriented programs and policies in place for the aftermath.

That can mean direct aid, tax relief, government investments and looking at zoning, land-use, regulatory policies to how they can be fine tuned or overhauled to save and create jobs. Tax and other help for small businesses, entrepreneurs, restaurants and independent contractors are as important as federal assistance for airlines, hotels and other big industries.

In places such as Scottsdale and Phoenix it means helping restaurants, the tourism sector and small businesses who are the backbone of the regional economy.

We hope to see cities, counties and states start parallel tracks of responding to the public health aspects of the Coronavirus and creating their own economic stimulus programs.

They need to work with Washington as well as major employers, small businesses and key industries on what will work best for their communities. They need to avoid the political fights seen in the U.S. Senate.

We are all depending on it.

By David Hudnall (Editor-in-Chief, Phoenix New Times)

Dear Friend,

First of all, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting Phoenix New Times.

Without you, we simply wouldn’t be here. We couldn’t have told the stories of Phoenix — many of which would have gone untold if not for New Times — for the last 50 years and counting.

Some of those stories may even have been about you, or your relatives or friends. They’re about places and people you know or wanted to know more about. They’re about politics, business, food, cannabis, music, art, sports and theater — pretty much everything that makes Phoenix the incredible city that it is.

We know you’re experiencing the financial, social and emotional stress caused by the Coronavirus. So are we. As local businesses have been forced to temporarily close or cut back, our advertising has suffered. Everyone in our company has taken pay cuts, and we’ve also had to lay off beloved colleagues. None of us knows when things will return to normal, or even what normal will look like.

But we’re writing to let you know that whatever happens, we intend to be here to serve the readers, the advertisers and the many other partners who’ve helped us in our mission to provide an independent voice for the people of this great city.

In times of panic, confusion, and fear — in the historic times we suddenly find ourselves living through — people want reliable information. That is what we do here. Our journalists are rising to this moment, reporting day and night to bring Phoenix accurate, up-to-date information about what’s happening on the ground, in the community, and in the halls of power. More than a million of you have visited phoenixnewtimes.com so far this month, where our traffic has risen by more than 50 percent these past several weeks — evidence that our readers value our commitment to providing hard facts amid so much uncertainty.

We’re not just publishing on the web, of course. We’re still printing our weekly edition of New Times. Even though your favorite pick-up location may be temporarily shuttered, we’re still available at 1,600 locations throughout the Valley. (Here’s a handy map of our distribution points.) And if you prefer reading New Times in its traditional print format but are truly stuck at home, you can get an elegant reading experience by browsing our online flipbook.

We want to continue to be part of your life. So that’s why we’re writing: to let you know that we’re still here. Our reporters, editors, photographers, illustrators, salespeople, production department workers and business office employees are on the job, keeping New Times going and doing the work necessary to get you the news.

We’ll stay in the fight. Let’s do it together.

David Hudnall
Editor-in-Chief

 

By Recker McDowell —

The Coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented in its impacts on public health (especially for seniors and those with underlying health conditions), on the economy and jobs and on everyday life.

It is touching literally everything.

But it’s also the fear and anxiety that is also driving the fallout. From closed workplaces and canceled sporting events to ‘shelter in place’ orders and historic stock drops on Wall Street, consumers, businesses and investors have no visibility on when the pandemic might end on what the economy and world will look like.

The fear factor (from a global, economic and community perspective) is off the charts.  Going to the grocery store is stressful let alone scrolling through Twitter or thinking about our jobs.

We need courage and leadership on how to we are going to get through this. We need to give people hope and confidence their jobs won’t be cut, their small businesses won’t close and that the pandemic will eventually subside.

It’s easy to say we need FDR ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself’ leadership from President Trump, governors and mayors.

We do need that kind of national leadership from Washington to Wall Street.

But the leadership and courage also must come from the grassroots level, from our communities and neighborhoods and from our workplaces.

We need to talk not only about public health solutions and approaches to the Coronavirus but how we are going to navigate our economy and everyday lives.

That takes courage, hope and leadership in our communities from employers, from local leaders and from each other.

We need to lift each other up and help those in need (especially seniors and vulnerable populations as well as workers and businesses hit hard by the pandemic). It means reassuring each other even when we are uncertain ourselves. It means finding opportunities for innovation, compassion, creativity and empathy.

Fear, anxiety and worry won’t get us through this. It will only spiral. We need to rise to the occasion and this unprecedented test and give each other the best we have to offer.

 

By Recker McDowell —

The Scottsdale City Council voted 4-3 today to keep the city’s food tax in place.

The 1.75-percent food tax brought in $13.5 million to the city last year and was projected to bring in $16 million this year.

With all that is going on with the Coronavirus and its devastating economic fallout, it is good for Scottsdale the majority of councilors opted to keep the revenue.

The city’s economy is taking a huge hit from the pandemic with tourism in a free fall, many restaurants, bars and shops temporarily closing or reducing hours in the midst of the anxiety over the virus. Workplaces are closed. Meetings and special events postponed or canceled. Cactus League baseball has been canceled. Jobs are being lost.

The COVID-19 outbreak’s economic anxiety is also going to impact tax bases and revenue streams. That will be especially true in Scottsdale where resorts, hotels, shops, bars, restaurants and galleries are significant tax revenue generators.

The strains on tax revenue streams are also poised to stress Scottsdale and other cities’ ability to provide essential services including public safety.

We are glad a wise majority of the Scottsdale Council opted to keep an existing and what could be a very important revenue stream as our community navigates uncharted and dangerous economic and public health waters.

Unprecedented times. Two words we all seem to use a lot these days. And while the crisis we now face can be described in no other way, our industry and our community’s ability to unite and recover in the face of incredible challenges is not unprecedented. In the past, we have rallied together and come out even stronger on the other side. Though we have a long, tough road ahead of us, I have no doubt the same will be true this time.

Now, more than ever, we must remember that travel is a truly resilient industry. For more than three decades, Experience Scottsdale has worked with our partners to overcome previous hurdles. We are an industry of passionate-minded, hard-working individuals who know how to hunker down, weather the storm, and climb our way back to the top. We will get through this together, and Experience Scottsdale will be here to help in any way we can.

Based on the current situation of this worldwide health crisis, Experience Scottsdale has suspended all marketing, public relations, convention sales and tourism programs. We are working diligently to shift dollars so that we can be ready to activate strong programs when these messages are ready to be heard by the public. In the meantime, we are focused on serving our clients’ needs – from postponing site inspections and familiarization tours to helping clients rebook future travels and group bookings. Taking care of these important relationships will help our community recover faster. We are staying in touch, providing our support, and ensuring our clients know that we are here to help them.

We have begun receiving weekly data from STR, Inc. to best understand the direct impact on the Scottsdale market area. In the first two weeks of March, March 1-14, the Scottsdale-area’s tourism industry saw occupancy decline by 23.3% hitting a low of 54.8% on March 14. During that 14-day time, average daily rate declined 3.9% year-over-year, and revenue per available room declined by 25.9% year-over-year. Total revenue declined 26.6% year-over-year during this two-week period. We anticipate that these numbers will drastically decline through the end of March and into April; possibly longer. We will continue sharing this data every Monday as part of our Tourism Industry Update e-newsletter. Read More

By Recker McDowell —

The Scottsdale City Council approved a $1.2 million outlay earlier this month as part of the regional effort to host Super Bowl LVII in 2023.

Scottsdale should repurpose that money to help local businesses being devastated by the impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Super Bowl money is coming from the Tourism Development Fund via four annual outlays of $305,100 starting this year.

The NFL, Tom Brady and the Super Bowl will survive without Scottsdale’s contribution to the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. Many Scottsdale businesses (and jobs) will not survive without immediate help with the virus sparking economic and public health fears and anxiety. Scottsdale businesses are poised to cut jobs impacting workers’ livelihoods. Other businesses will wither and die. They need help now.

The Coronavirus has air travel and tourism in a free fall. Shops, bars and restaurants are closing or cutting hours to protect public health and because of drops in business. Events have been canceled. Spring Training Baseball (one of Scottsdale’s big economic drivers) had its games called off because of the outbreak. Workplaces are closed. Fear and anxiety are gripping consumers.

All that threatens not only businesses but their employees and the city’s tax base.

At the federal level, President Donald Trump, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and congressional leaders are crafting a federal stimulus and response package in response to the pandemic. That could include $1,000 payments and help for devastated industries. Mnuchin said Wednesday that the U.S. could see the unemployment rate hit 20 percent if Washington fails to respond to the virus. The current U.S. unemployment rate is 3.5 percent.

Scottsdale and other communities need to act now in response to the Coronavirus. That means finding resources and ways to help local businesses and their workers. The $1.2 million earmarked for the Super Bowl is needed right now to help with that effort. The money can be used as part of a Scottsdale effort to help local business stay afloat and survive this contagion. We need an aggressive and immediate economic response to the fear and fallout to save jobs, to save small businesses, to save the backbone of our community.

The city can come back later and help with the Super Bowl effort but right now our local economy needs immediate help.

 

By Recker McDowell —

Take a minute and think about our community and the impact the Coronavirus is having on so many of our neighbors who make up the backbone, the soul of our city, our region and state.

The impact is everywhere. That means our response and our efforts on the public health and economic fronts need to be comprehensive, community minded and focused on the Coronavirus’ myriad of impacts.

There are the public health concerns for our seniors, for those with underlying conditions that make them the most vulnerable to the virus.

There are all the health care workers (including nurses and others on the front lines at emergency rooms, doctors’ offices and urgent cares). Our local, on the ground health care system is being put to the test. We are also seeing innovations and best practices emerging that can help save lives and navigate this and future pandemics.

The Coronavirus’ impact on the economy and jobs is unprecedented. The virus’ reach goes well beyond the big stock drops on Wall Street. It is throughout the economy and our community. Schools and universities are closed. Events key for nonprofits, tourism and all kind of jobs have been canceled or postponed.

Tourism — a $3.1 billion industry in Scottsdale and a $24.4 billion statewide with jobs and businesses across the state — is also on the front lines of the Coronavirus’ negative impact on air travel.  Tourism accounts for more than 27,000 jobs in Scottsdale and 192,000 statewide. The Coronavirus is bringing all that to a halt with air travel coming to a standstill and events such as Spring Training baseball, NBA and NHL games all canceled. Think about the all the jobs (hotels, restaurants, bars, airlines, Uber/Lyft, car rentals) impacted by virus. Those jobs are the livelihoods for workers and small businesses. How are they going to survive shutdowns and pullbacks in travel and spending?

How are employers and policy makers going to react to that and try to mitigate the effects? It will test our economy, political and business leaders and our communities. It will test our collective will.

One key will be to have smartly crafted growth policies that will help not only big industries such as airlines get through the Coronvavirus, but also the small businesses and workers at the community and grassroots level.  Those approaches need to be the local and state levels in addition to what will be crafted in Washington.

Consumers, workers and businesses all need some clarity on what is going to happen. That has been a moving target (in part because of how the virus has spread and in part because of the political, economic and societal reactions to it).

Providing better clarity and reassuring consumers, workers and businesses of a collective resolve will help ease the fears and anxiety.

We need a community response to get through this. That means a collective effort throughout the marketplace and community. It means bridging political divides (including the ones related growth and development). It means advocates, patriots and neighbors coming together to help our community deal with this crisis and its aftermath.

By Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane

As mayor of Scottsdale, I am keenly aware of the growing concern about coronavirus (COVID-19) in Arizona. I want you to know that your city government is focused on keeping the public and our employees safe while continuing to serve the community.

The city’s emergency response and continuity of operations plans account for public health situations like this. Scottsdale’s All Hazards Incident Management Team has been meeting regularly for nearly three weeks to share information and ensure city operations continue despite any interruptions that could occur. That team will remain on the job until the coronavirus concerns are over.

Scottsdale is in regular contact with partners at Maricopa County Public Health and the Arizona Department of Health Services, and we will continue to heed the guidance of the state’s medical experts. The city, county and state are also coordinating with federal agencies including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the White House.

As of this writing, the Arizona Department of Health Services considers the spread of the COVID-19 virus “minimal,” and rates the current level of community risk “low.”

See the latest updated statewide COVID-19 statistics on their website.

I understand the reasons behind Major League Baseball’s decision to cancel the remaining Cactus League schedule and Scottsdale Arts’ decision to cancel this weekend’s Scottsdale Arts Festival. While certainly disappointing, I respect the decisions of those organizations given the magnitude of public concern about coronavirus.

According to Maricopa County Public Health, cancellation of mass gatherings and events due to COVID-19 concerns is not generally encouraged but is a consideration event coordinators could take.

The city of Scottsdale is monitoring the situation continuously. We are evaluating city-produced recreational events, leagues and programs in light of current guidance. Some programs are being cancelled in response to concerns expressed by participants.

Some events and programs are continuing – like those at WestWorld this weekend. The city will continue to support the decisions of local event producers, and encourages the public to understand the risks, practice common sense and good hygiene.

People who are sick should stay home, as should those with compromised immune systems or other conditions that place them at higher risk.

Situations like this breed lots of stories and rumors – it’s important to get information from credible sources. I recommend:

This is a difficult time, and we will get through it as a community. I am already working with local business leaders to plan for the days when the public health crisis is over, and attention needs to shift to getting Scottsdale’s economy back on track.

Most sincerely,

W.J. “Jim”  Lane

 

It’s not often the City of Apache Junction is accused of having a more beautiful mind and a more steely spine than the Town of Paradise Valley.  Yet, at least on one issue recently, it has and does.

Readers may recall Paradise Valley’s aborted attempt to transition to a single-hauler trash system not too long ago. It considered so for all reasons rooted in common-sense.  Lower prices.  Fewer trucks.  Less noise and pollution.  A more orderly system.

Paradise Valley, along with Apache Junction, was the only town or city in Arizona remaining that still used an archaic, jungle-system where every company and truck could just have at it.

As town officials wisely moved to consider bids from various trash haulers one company that bid but was not selected launched anonymous, spurious attacks on the reform.

Notwithstanding the hypocrisy, certain elected officials in Paradise Valley got weak-kneed over some opposing emails despite polling showing widespread support for the change.  Eventually, the Town Council did not back up town staff and rejected the transition.

Fast forward to Apache Junction.  Tired of its own hauling chaos, officials there embarked on the exact same journey as Paradise Valley’s late last year.  And when the same company that failed to gain the bid in Paradise Valley lost likewise in Apache Junction, it embarked on a near identical scorched-earth campaign in the East Valley city.  Yet, a funny thing happened on the way to the Apache Junction public forum.  Elected officials didn’t collapse under the weight of emails generated by outrageous claims.  They hung in there, showed leadership and forged ahead, eventually passing the approvals necessary to change a bad system.  Apache Junction understood the silent majority was just that and the community will be the better for its sagaciousness.

Now, Apache Junction is no longer the largest municipality in Arizona with the worst trash hauling system in the state.  Paradise Valley is.

Oh well, at least the tony town has a Ritz-Carlton coming soon.

 

2020 Scrum


By Michael Auerbach

A college professor once asked a class I was in, “What one word would you use to describe the United States of America?”

I said defiant.  Because both the connotation and denotation of the word apply.  The dictionary defines the word connotation as-something suggested by a word.  Denotation is defined as- sign or indication.

Looking back on the founding of our nation the clearest example I can imagine is the Boston Tea Party.  The physical act of patriots tossing actual bags of tea into the Charles River symbolize both of the meanings. In time as the country grew and became older our history became replete with examples of one, the other or both.  A few that come to mind are Valley Forge, Fort Sumpter, the invention of the production line, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and of course September 11th.

At each of these moments our nation not only survived, but we ended up thriving.  Coming out the other side better, stronger and more prosperous than before.

The current COVID-19 virus is no different.  It may seem now that there is no end in sight.  That not enough is being done. That too much is being done in restricting how, where and when people move.  Each of us in our own way has experienced stress and nervousness as well as anxiety regarding this current crisis’s end.  Will the company I work for still be in business?  How do I pay for the things I must have?  When this does end, will I still have the lifestyle I have been accustomed to?Read More

By Recker McDowell —

How companies, communities, candidates and elected officials react to and handle the unrivaled impacts of the Coronavirus and its economic fallout will define them and their brands for a long time.

Just ask Mark Cuban.

Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and a Shark Tank judge, tells CNBC the pandemic will test the mettle of employers and their brands.

“How companies respond to that very question is going to define their brand for decades. If you rushed in and somebody got sick, you were that company. If you didn’t take care of your employees or stakeholders and put them first, you were that company,” Cuban told the business network.

The Coronavirus has already resulted in record numbers of unemployment claims with pandemic grinding tourism, air travel, workplaces and much of the economy to a screeching halt.

The challenge for employers (large and small) is how they treat their employees and customers during this unprecedented stress. The contemporary consumer, employee and even investors want to believe in where they work or shop or do business.

The age of social media will amplify the employers who did right by their workers, customers and communities.

Twitter and Facebook will also shine light on those employers and businesses don’t show much loyalty or support for their employees or communities.

The same holds true for communities, elected officials and the media. This pandemic is causing incredible stresses and strains throughout our communities and economy.

It does provide opportunities for communities, businesses and elected officials at every level to show responsible leadership that balances public health and economic concerns.

A Gallup poll earlier this week showed President Donald Trump with a 60 percent approval rating for his handling of the Coronavrius. Eighty eight percent of Americans approve of how hospitals are handling the pandemic. But only 44 percent of the American public approves of how the media is doing its job with the Coronavirus. Some of that stems from perceived biases and criticisms that some outlets and some reporters are spreading fear.Read More

By Vote Suzanne Klapp

Scottsdale, AZ – Three-term Scottsdale City Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp announced her bid for Scottsdale Mayor on Monday at the Scottsdale Airport in front of family, friends and supporters.  Suzanne, who began exploring a bid for Mayor back in March of 2019, becomes the fourth candidate to officially announce as a candidate for the city’s top elected position.

“My number one priority, if elected, is to put the unity back in community.  Right now, it is important residents of Scottsdale see Councilmembers and the Mayor as partners in building the future of the city, not as adversaries or advancing personal agendas.  Whether in business or as a Councilwoman, I’ve always tried to have a collaborative leadership style so everybody feels that their voices are heard,” said Suzanne.

Suzanne brought 35 years of private sector business management experience to the Council when she was sworn in over 11 years ago and applies those principles to city governance.  As Mayor, she plans to focus on economic development, quality of life issues, and bringing back a sense of community.

“We need a Mayor who will continue to move Scottsdale forward.  That doesn’t mean upending everything that makes Scottsdale special.  It means being strategic in our decision making and finding common ground.  It means ensuring economic prosperity, keeping our city safe and doing so at a low cost to residents.  It also means actually getting results,” Suzanne continued.

 

Suzanne has been instrumental in guiding several big issues across the finish line in the last few years.  She led the effort to pass the nominal transportation tax in 2018 to improve streets and intersections and reduce traffic congestion throughout the city.  She served on the Council’s three-member 2019 Capital Improvement Projects Subcommittee who were the architects of a community-based list of projects that led to the first successful comprehensive bond package in nearly 20 years.  She also supported the Yes for 420 Proposition ballot effort that led to an overwhelmingly approved charter amendment which limited development in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Read More

By Virginia Korte

It’s not hard to imagine why investing in schools is in the public interest. We care about our children and want them to grow up to be well-balanced, well-educated members of our society.

But the need for investing in schools goes further than that. One of the biggest draws for companies to put down roots in an area is the quality of the education. It’s hard to attract the best people for high paying jobs if they can’t send their kids to good schools. Additionally, it is our responsibility to provide the best education for our children so that we can grow our own talent to fulfill the needs of our community.

This is why it’s important that we continue to do everything necessary for our schools to succeed. If we want high paying jobs to continue to come to Scottsdale, we need top-notch education at the public and private level.

Our neighboring city, Mesa, is doing everything they can to invest in education. If we want to remain competitive we have to continue our investment as well.Read More

By Recker McDowell —

The New Hampshire primary this week is whittling down the crowded Democratic field after the debacle in Iowa.

The Democratic field offers primary voters a distinct choice between ‘progressives’ such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and ‘moderates’ such as Pete Buttigieg, Michael Bloomberg, Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden. Whoever the Democrats pick will offer a stark contrast to President Donald Trump.

This year’s races for Scottsdale Mayor and City Council also offer some distinct choices to voters when it comes to growth and vision for the city. The field for Mayor and City Council could also get more crowded with Mayor Jim Lane term-limited and two sitting City Council member (Virginia Korte and Suzanne Klapp) running for Mayor.

How Scottsdale grows and matures will be center stage.

There are slow and frankly ‘no growth’ candidates who oppose and look skeptically on new and redevelopment projects throughout the city including Scottsdale’s downtown core.

Those candidates should be pressed on their views on how Scottsdale will remain a premier destination and competitive on the economic development and tourism fronts if the city is not evolving older properties and parcels in key locations.

This parallels with important questions of presidential candidates on their plans for immigration, the economy, climate change and health care (including ‘Medicare for All’ plans).

Candidates with more moderate or ‘pro-growth’ agendas should be asked how they will maintain Scottsdale’s brand and character.

There is a lot going right with Scottsdale, right now, and the city has its own unique and successful path.

Scottsdale does not (and should not) follow the growth trajectories of Phoenix or Tempe. But that path shouldn’t mean Scottsdale does not evolve, mature and stay competitive.